Constitutional Court upholds controversial Job Creation Law, sparks concerns over Papua’s exploitation

Job Creation Law
Demo against the Job Creation Law. - Jubi/Tirto.ID

Jayapura, Jubi – The recent decision by the Constitutional Court to uphold the Job Creation Law has led the Pusaka Foundation to question the Court’s role as a guardian of the constitution. The foundation holds the view that the Job Creation Law primarily benefits extractive capital, corporations, and oligarchs, while also endorsing discriminatory development policies towards Papua.

Papua, according to them, has been unfairly categorized as ‘unoccupied’ and ‘unproductive’ land, making it a target for corporate exploitation. As an example, they highlight the case of the forestry company PT Hutan Hijau West Papua, which is recently set to exploit 92,148 hectares of forest in the customary territory of the Moi tribe in Sorong.

The ease with which corporations can dominate land in Papua is attributed to the Forestry Cluster Job Creation Law and Government Regulation No.23 of 2021 on Forestry Organizers. This legislation allows for a larger control of land in Papua, up to 100 thousand hectares, compared to areas outside Papua.

“The adoption of the Job Creation Law represents the operation of a legal regime that supports the interests of extractive industries, in collaboration with a historic bias against Papua,” said Frangky Samperante, the Coordinator of the Pusaka Foundation.

The Pusaka Foundation believes that the Court has shifted its allegiance from safeguarding constitutional principles to serving the interests of the ruling regime, which prioritizes capital extraction over the well-being of the Indonesian people.

While four constitutional judges expressed dissenting opinions, the rejection of the formal review lawsuit has fueled public skepticism about the Court’s independence and its susceptibility to external influence. The Pusaka Foundation argues that the Constitutional Court’s argument for rejection lacks critical legal reasoning and ignores the social injustices caused by the Job Creation Law.

The Job Creation Law is seen as a legal framework that prioritizes economic development and investor interests, aiming to remove obstacles for capital flow into the country. This is achieved by weakening environmental and labor regulations, increasing flexibility in forestry and spatial rules, and strengthening investment regulations. (*)

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