JAKARTA, June 17 (Reuters) - Indonesia's chief economic
affairs minister defended President Joko Widodo's flagship job
creation law at the Constitutional Court on Thursday, arguing
the move to simultaneously amend scores of laws in one go was
The law that was approved in parliament last year triggered
widespread protests in Southeast Asia's largest economy with
trades unions filing a judicial review.
The so-called "omnibus" law, which amended 78 existing laws,
is vital to create jobs by attracting investment via streamlined
licensing and the avoidance of overlapping regulations, Minister
Airlangga Hartarto told the hearing in a video call.
"Changes to these laws cannot be carried out through
conventional means by changing the laws one by one, therefore a
legal breakthrough was needed," the minister said, noting such a
method while unconventional had been done previously.
Airlangga said the government had followed steps mandated by
the law from academic preparation to ratification, as well as
getting input from independent experts and communicating the
process to the public, including on social media.
Indonesia's parliament passed the job creation bill into law
last October through an expedited process, which included
late-night and weekend deliberations.
The bill has been largely welcomed by business and the
markets but criticised by unions and environmental groups for
potentially reducing workers' rights and relaxing environmental
The government says Indonesia needs to become more
attractive to investors to boost an economy battered by the
Indonesia's gross domestic product contracted 2.07% last
year, the first contraction since the 1998 Asian financial
crisis amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The court's next hearing will be on June 24 to hear
witnesses from the applicants.
(Reporting by Tabita Diela; Editing by Ed Davies)