+6221 52880355/56     +6221 52880362

Civis 004/2016

II. Achievements and deficiencies.


The reformation of Indonesia was peaceful and successful thanks to the support and wisdom of all political parties. The amendment process took place in the spirit of brotherhood, relatively open, was gradual and continuous for four years, from 1999 to 2002. Aside from one decision about the presence of the People’s Consultative Assembly members appointed as the representation of Class, all decisions were decided based on consensus.

Thus Indonesia, the country with tens of thousands of islands, thousands of tribes, hundreds of regional languages, all the prominent religions in the world and hundreds of cult, with the fourth largest population in the world after China, India and the United States, and the most populous Muslim World, has been transformed into a democratic country through peaceful and solid means.

Compared with the split (balkanization) that occurred in the Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia (which became Czech and Slovak), Yugoslavia (which became the Republics of Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia Herzegovina and Macedonia, etc.) or the upheaval in Egypt, the countries of the Arab Spring, Thailand or the process in Myanmar which is not yet complete, only a few countries were able to conduct fundamental reforms peacefully and quickly (a.l. Tim Lindsey, 2004; Edward Schneier, 2007). Many literatures considered the amendment process in Indonesia to be a miracle (a.l. Alfred Stephan, 2005; Mirjam Kunkler and Alfred Stephan, 2013).

In the past sixteen years, direct presidential elections and the legislative elections have been conducted on a regular, peaceful and democratic way in 2004, 2009 and 2014. The international community recognizes that the election has been going in democratic, peaceful and fair way.

Freedom of the press, academic freedom, freedom of association, and respect for human rights has been good enough.

Our democracy is not majoritarian democracy that is based only on the will of the majority. In a constitutional democracy, all the policies in the state must be in accordance with the 1945 Constitution. Governments and citizens are subject to legal rules that should comply to the 1945 Constitution as the supreme law (the supreme law of the land).

In other words, a policy, including the Law, and its implementation should not depend only on the opinion and the will of the majority (majoritarian) but it should be in accordance to the 1945 Constitution.

Because 1945 constitution is based on Pancasila (Five Bases-Indonesian Ideology), Bhinneka Tunggal Ika (Unity in Diversity-national slogan) and respect of human rights, then every policy must be in accordance with the principles and provisions of that base. Making a policy, either for national legislation or local regulations, in addition to having to go through a democratic procedure, substantially, directly or indirectly, must be in accordance with the provisions of the 1945 Constitution.

Within this time, Indonesia has grown from the 16th largest economy in 2011 to become the 10th largest economy in the world (GDP-PPP), after US, China, India, Japan, Germany, Russia, Brazil, France, and the UK (World Bank 2014). Indonesia’s economic growth rate is high (5.8%, World Bank 2013). Human development index (HDI – Human Development Index) continued to improve, from 0540 in 2000 to 0629 in 2012 (UNDP 2013). The availability of education, health and the like has also been improved.

Unemployment Rate (TPT) in Indonesia in 2015 ranged from 5.8 to 6.0%, lower than the average TPT in 2002 amounted to 9.06% and TPT in 2005 amounted to 10.26% (Adapted from various reports BPS).

The percentage of poor also declined from 24% in 1999 to 13.3% in 2010 and 11.3% in 2014 (World Bank, 2014).

The incidence of disputes between religions still occurs although it is declining from 250 incidents in 2008 to 150 early in 2014 (WAHID Institute, 2014; SETARA Institute, 2014). Threats and security problems are also much reduced.

Inter-religious relations continued to improve and increased and began to reach out to the grassroots.

On the other hand, freedom of speech and writing, information disclosure and appreciation of human rights in Indonesia is quite good.

The achievement of the above sought to debunk the notion that development in developing countries will only be successful if it is supported by a system of authoritarian government which give priority to order and stability and often not too concerned about freedom and basic rights of members of the public, as is often advocated by the developmentalist.

However, despite of the various achievements that has been very encouraging, we still keep a variety of serious weakness and backwardness that needs to be addressed immediately and must be done with a systemic approach.

There are still many provisions of regulations that are not congruent or even deviate from the provisions of the 1945 Constitution.  Act no. 25/2004 on National Development Planning System and Act no. 17/2007 on the National Long-Term Development Plan 2005-2025, for example, have not been firmly integrated the planning and implementation of national development in all sectors and regions of the country as set out in the 1945 Constitution.

Center and periphery relations are disrupted by the erroneous application of the principle of local autonomy by the Local Government Act.  Some regulations, including local regulations, are still discriminatory and still in contrary to the 1945 Constitution as the supreme law.

Problems of poverty, social inequality and inter-regional, the rule of law and respect for human rights, and many more are also need to be solved.

Social inequality due to increasing income gap is still need to be overcome. Economic growth is still not strong enough. Overall well-being is still far from expectations.

The number of poor people is still (very) large. In 2013, 13% of the population still live in poverty, and 40% of other households living slightly above the poverty line and are vulnerable to falling into poverty. (World Bank, 2013).

The number of urban poor in large cities is increasing, mainly because Indonesia experienced rapid urbanization. Currently about 54 percent of the population living in big cities. It is projected to increase to 67 percent in 2025. Therefore, urban poverty is projected to exceed rural poverty in 2020 (CBS, 2010).

Integrity of the pattern of national development planning and implementation weakened. Synchronization of sectoral and territorial development almost disappeared.

The radical idea to make the Indonesian state based on Islam reappeared, both in the movement’s teachings and in various forms of terrorism and anarchy movement/violence, such as terrorist Sarinah bombings some time ago, the activities of terrorist Santoso groups in Poso, and ISIS that are still active.

Guaranteed religious right that is recognized in 1945 Constitution has not been obeyed as it should. In many places, intolerance among people of different beliefs increases. The Ahmadiyah, Shiites, and Christians here and there still continues to experience pressure and discrimination.

Even in education area, there are signs of decline due to the tolerance of an education system that is not consistent with the 1945 Constitution.

As we put the Pancasila as the state ideology and the diverse customs as a source of ethical, moral, and spiritual our laws, the rule of law should also facilitate the practice of exercising faith in their respective faiths without interfering in religious faith itself. State needs to facilitate the day of worship of various religions, e.g. Christmas, Eid, Vesak and so on, as national holidays, so that citizens who celebrate it without violating the provisions of the working day.

However, the state should not require their citizens to go to church, or to mosque, or to the temple to celebrate their big day. State can facilitate Islamic banks, but the state should not oblige Muslims to use Islamic banks or to put Islamic banks under the law of religious law.

There are boundaries between Forum Internum (faith and personal space) with Forum Externum (shared public space).  However, the boundaries are need to be discovered, for instance in Zakat Bill, Halal Bill and the Bill on Religious Harmony. We need a continuous effort in togetherness, inclusivity, honesty, respect and openness.

Social discipline continues to be weakened, reflected in habit of chaotic driving in traffic, like bypassing the traffic law.

Law enforcement is still very alarming. Corruption is still ongoing. Of the 145 countries of the world, where the sequence to the 145 is the most corrupt, Indonesia ranks 117 most corrupt countries.

Government organizations are not reliable enough to prevent corruption while legal punishment for criminal is not feared because law enforcement authorities, including the judiciary, are not functioning as it should.

The law is not sharp enough for the upper class, but also very weak among the general public, in cities and in the countryside.

Various problems above illustrate the huge challenges that must still be overcome. (continued)


(This paper was presented by the writer in the Strategic Forum of Church and Politics, in Jakarta, April 7-9, 2016)

Drs. Jakob Tobing, MPA

Drs. Jakob Tobing, MPA

President, Leimena Institute

Jakob Tobing is one of the most prominent architects of the new democratic Indonesia. He played an instrumental role in Indonesia’s transition from the authoritarian rule to democracy in 1998. He was then entrusted as the Chairman of the 1999 National Election Committee and the 1999-2004 Parliamentary Commission on the Constitutional Amendment – the two important bodies that decisively replaced authoritarianism with democracy in Indonesia. Under his leadership, the constitutional amendment has guaranteed the principles of democracy, rule of law, and human rights, which is now seen as a model by many other countries. He was a student leader against the old order in 1966, appointed as member of parliament in 1968, and became the Vice Chairman of the ruling party during the Suharto’s regime. But during the height of the authoritarian regime, he joined the opposition and was invited to join and establish the reform PDIP party by its Chairman Megawati Soekarnoputri, who later became the President of Indonesia. President Habibie decorated him with Mahaputera Utama medal in 1999. After more than three decades as a member of parliament, in 2004 he was appointed as the Indonesian Ambassador to the Republic of Korea, a leadership role which again he performed so outstanding that the Republic of Korea awarded him the Gwanghwa medal—the country’s highest diplomatic award. He received his graduate degree from the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, USA.