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RKUHP Protects Democracy in Indonesia


By : Made Prawira

The Draft Criminal Code (RKUHP) will protect democracy in Indonesia, because people are allowed to have an opinion and are not forbidden to speak. The public need not fear silence because in the RKUHP, what is prohibited is insults to the head of state, not criticism.

Indonesia is a democratic country and became independent in 1945. Even though the function of democracy did not work during the New Order era, because of its sacred government, reformation overthrew it. After 1998, the government continued to maintain the spirit of reform and uphold democracy, including the administration of President Jokowi.

Since being elected president of Indonesia in 2014, Jokowi has promised to uphold democracy in Indonesia. One way to do this is by drafting and planning the ratification of the RKUHP into a new version of the Criminal Code. The Draft Criminal Code will uphold democracy because it still gives people space to express their opinions freely and politely.

Professor of the Faculty of Law, University of Pancasila, Professor Ade Saptomo, stated that the RKUHP enhances democracy in Indonesia. The legal product was upgraded because it was not in accordance with the times. The articles in the Criminal Code are no longer in accordance with the conditions in society, and the RKUHP is more contemporary.

In a sense, the Criminal Code is very ancient and irrelevant to people’s lives. The emergence of the RKUHP is very good because it regulates the Indonesian people according to their era. This is the era of information technology and continuing the spirit of reform, and democracy is still upheld. The proof is that the process of revising the RKUHP (to suit people’s lives) involves the people because they are allowed to give their opinion.

If the Criminal Code is not revised then it is the same as a setback because the law used is the law inherited from the Netherlands, when there was no democracy at all (because of the colonial period). Therefore, the Criminal Code needs to be revised so that democracy is always upheld and in accordance with the spirit of reform in Indonesia.

Judging from history, legal experts actually wanted to revise the 1963 Criminal Code, because they felt that this law was no longer appropriate. However, it was canceled due to political turmoil in Indonesia. Then, the revision of the new Criminal Code became a discourse and only President Jokowi had the courage to make it happen into the RKUHP which was soon to be inaugurated. This proves that he upholds democracy and wants the law to protect society from criminal crimes.

Professor Ade added that the articles in the RKUHP improve democracy. Democracy will be in accordance with Indonesian culture, not wild and barbaric. In a sense, democracy is a situation where people’s voices are heard and they can make laws in this country (through people’s representatives). However, things changed after reforms began in May 1998.

1998 was the beginning of reform when the New Order fell. At that time, the people were euphoric in their opinion, because for 32 years they were silenced, even Peter was threatened with their safety. When the Reformation Order began, people enjoyed freedom of expression and were not afraid of being hit by breidel or peter.

However, it’s a shame that post-reform freedom has gone too far. Freedom turned into liberal and opinions were poured out as much as possible, both positive and negative. In fact, Indonesia is a democratic country, not liberal like the United States.

Especially when the internet entered Indonesia and social media became rampant. Many have opinions on Facebook, Twitter, or other social media and unfortunately more and more are sarcastic and insult the government. There are also those who make memes and jokes, if there are government regulations that are not approved.

This situation has crossed the boundaries of democracy and almost turned Indonesia into a liberal. Therefore, democracy was re-established and straightened out with the RKUHP. In this bill there is an article on insulting the government and the public is strictly prohibited from doing so.

If the government is insulted by making memes or other ridiculous content, then it is tantamount to insulting the honor of the country. This kind of liberalization is what the RKUHP is trying to abolish. In a democratic country, people may have an opinion, but they should not go too far and end up insulting their own head of state. The dignity of the president of Indonesia must be strictly guarded.

Democracy needs to be distinguished from liberalization. Indonesia has never turned into a liberal country, where everyone has an opinion and ends up going too far. Don’t let social media become a battlefield between political supporters and lead to rude insults to the government. What is prohibited is humiliation, not constructive criticism, and society needs to understand that.

The RKUHP maintains democracy in Indonesia so that it is truly enforced. Indonesia is a democratic country, not a liberal one. The articles in the RKUHP regulate society to be orderly and avoid criminal crimes. The rules in the RKUHP also uphold democracy because people are allowed to have opinions, as long as they are not liberal, rude, and hurtful.

 The author is a contributor to the Pertiwi Institute

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