Indonesian Muslim and union groups to fight new jobs law in court

Indonesian labor unions march on a main road towards the Presidential Palace during a strike to protest against the government's labour reforms in a controversial jobs creation law in Jakarta, Indonesia, October 8, 2020. (Reuters)
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Updated 09 October 2020

Indonesian Muslim and union groups to fight new jobs law in court

JAKARTA: Indonesian President Joko Widodo came under increasing pressure to repeal his new controversial labor law on Friday with union and Muslim groups preparing to challege it in court and some regional leaders publicly opposing the legislation.
The KSPI labor group, among the organizers of three-day national strikes ending Thursday, is preparing to lodge a case against the new law in the Constitutional Court, the group’s president Said Iqbal said in a statement.
Nahdlatul Ulama, Indonesia’s biggest Muslim group with millions of followers, would also challenge the law in the court, it said in its official Twitter account.
The “omnibus” jobs creation bill, passed into law on Monday, has seen thousands of people across the world’s fourth-most populous nation take to the streets in protest, saying it undermines labor rights and weakens environmental protections.
Clashes erupted in some cities on Thursday, including in the capital Jakarta where protesters burnt public transport facilities and damaged police posts.
At least five regional leaders, including the governors of Jakarta and the country’s most populous province West Java, have said they would pass on protersters’ demand to the president or publicly opposed the law
Repealing the law would prevent further clashes “that could create prolong instability amid a pandemic and an economic recession,” West Kalimantan Govenor Sutarmidji said in a statement.
The president has yet to make any public statement, but his ministers have defended the law, saying protests were triggered by false news and that the legislation would improve people’s welfare by welcoming more investment.
Jakarta police on Thursday detained about 1,000 demonstrators, but most of them were released by Friday morning, Jakarta police spokesman Yusri Yunus said.
Police did not expect a fourth day of protests in the capital on Friday, he said.
However, trade union KSBSI on Friday called on its members to launch another wave of protests from Oct. 12 to 16.
A meeting of many other labor groups is scheduled over the weekend to consolidate their next move, Ilhamsyah of KPBI labor union told Reuters.
Jakarta resident Nathan Tarigan feared clashes would escalate.
“I’m afraid if the government and stakeholders of the state aren’t wise, don’t want to listen, something bigger can happen and the state can break,” the 50-year-old said.


Academic freed in Iran ‘blown away’ by support

Updated 01 December 2020

Academic freed in Iran ‘blown away’ by support

SYDNEY: An Australian-British academic released after two years imprisoned in Iran on spying charges said she thanked supporters from the “bottom of my heart” Tuesday, saying they helped her through a “never-ending, unrelenting nightmare.”
In her first statement since arriving back in Australia, Middle East scholar Kylie Moore-Gilbert said she was “totally blown away” by efforts from friends and family to secure her release.
“I honestly have no words to express the depth of my gratitude and how touched I am,” the 33-year-old said.
“It gave me so much hope and strength to endure what had seemed like a never-ending, unrelenting nightmare. My freedom truly is your victory. From the bottom of my heart, thank you!“
Moore-Gilbert was released last week in a swap for three Iranians linked to a botched plot to kill Israeli officials in Bangkok.
She was arrested by Iran’s hard-line Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in 2018, after attending an academic conference in the holy city of Qom in central Iran.
She was later charged with espionage and sentenced to 10 years in jail, allegations she has denied.
arb/mtp