Indonesia Court rejects plea to review controversial investment law

Indonesia Court rejects plea to review controversial investment law

A top court in Indonesia on Monday rejected a petition to review a controversial pro-investment law passed earlier this year that labour and environmental groups have said is too pro-business.

The so-called omnibus law, which seeks to streamline bureaucracy and attract investment into Southeast Asia's biggest economy, is essential to President Joko Widodo's legacy of economic reform, as he prepares to leave office next year.

The labour groups had asked the Constitutional Court to review the omnibus law, which they claimed was formulated in an unconstitutional way and unfairly favoured businesses over workers and consumers.

Judges on Monday rejected the application in a hearing streamed online, saying the government's formula of the law was in line with the constitution.

The workers, who carried banners and set fire to a tyre, marched outside the court in central Jakarta.

The original Job Creation Law sparked widespread protests in 2020 as it aimed at removing rules on mandatory severance pay and paid leave, and limiting outsourcing to specific sectors.

The Constitutional Court ruled that the law was flawed in 2021 due to lack of public consultation and ordered lawmakers to restart the process within two years, or the law itself would be deemed unconstitutional.

In December, President Jokowi, known locally, issued an emergency decree to ease parliamentary approval of the omnibus law.

The Supreme Court had criticised the decision as a government ploy to bypass a proper debate in parliament.

Civil society has been questioning the independence of the Constitutional Court since President Jokowi's brother-in-law was reappointed Chief Justice in March.