Thursday, May 11, 2006

Do we have Law? Maybe. Is it enforced? Maybe not.

My co-blogger at Café Salemba, Ujang, asked: "Is the [Indonesian] legal and regulatory environment better than two years ago?". I don't think so.

In fact, I think it's becoming worse. Now people are more afraid of FPI, FBR, and the likes than of the Law itself. The police seems useless. The media seems to be afraid of being attacked if they cover the violent actions of these people. If they don't like an action by a particular citizen, they terrorize him/her. Until the poor citizen apologizes. And they will go to frightened media, appear on TV saying "This is what you get if you are bad. Apologize to us and don't repeat your sin". The Law, in the meantime, is silent.

We might have the Law. But it's yet to be enforced. On the other hand, bylaws are produced every week. No matter how far off they are from the Constitution.

And Court is happening on the streets. Just yesterday hundreds of students in Makassar went to the street threatening Chinese-Indonesians, because of an alleged maid murder by an employer who happens to be of Chinese ethnic. Why did the students go to the street? It might be a reflection of their skepticism toward law enforcement. Worse yet, it's also an indication of economic tension, if we remember similar tragedy in 1980 and 1997.

Law simply doesn't work. You read news about soccer fans burning a trailer because one kid died after falling from and got hit by the trailer. The driver hopelessly explained to the media that he had repeatedly asked those kids not to jump up onto the trailers, because it was dangerous. Another day, you read hundreds of soccer fans from Surabaya destroying street vendors in Jakarta because they refused to hand them food for free.

And don't you forget about all this forgiving business. Political leaders are now talking about dropping the corruption case of the former president Soeharto and giving him an amnesty, due to his "poor health and old age". I'm totally for forgiveness, but hey, do we really not have any system? I'm afraid we're giving the wrong signal again. That is, you're free to commit corruption and all that. Enjoy the money while you can, and later, be sick and old. Because you'll be forgiven anyway. Hm, sounds familiar. Another wrong signal has been given a couple of months ago. Saying: you can abuse other people's money as much as you can. Then run away. When you're home sick, feel free to come back, as long as you return the money. Without interest.

Ujang, afraid the answer is no.

No comments: