Most of Indonesian Society Rejects the Return Dual Functions of Army - Photo: Special

JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories) – Lately began to be hot talking about the discourse of returning the National Army dual functions within the structural sphere of government. This discourse is actually not new one. Previously, it was also rumored about the involvement of active army officers within the Indonesian anti-graft and DKI Jakarta Government.

The discourse was raised again followed the inauguration of active army officer Lieut. Gen. Doni Monardo, who was elected as the Head of the National Disaster Management Agency replacing Retired Admiral Willem Rampangilei last month, which was considered to violate statutory provisions.

The gusts first came from the government and the military itself. Indonesian Army Commander Hadi Tjahjanto once stated that high and middle-ranking army officers could fill positions in government ministries or institutions, where at this time his party was awaiting government efforts to revise the Army Law.

Likewise, Minister of Administrative and Bureaucratic Reform Syafruddin, considered that the placement of middle and high ranking officers to fill positions in civil institutions would not create a dual function because it was still under the applicable of legal.

However, constitutionally, after the fall of the New Order regime, Indonesian law did indeed stipulate that officials in ministries or institutions must be from civilian circles, unless otherwise stipulated in the legislation.

Based on the law, members of the Army basically cannot hold structural positions in civilian institutions. This can be read in the Article 47 paragraph (1) of Law Number 34 Year 2004 concerning the Indonesian Army said: “Soldiers can only occupy civilian positions after resigning or retiring from active military service”.

According to the Act, active soldiers can only occupy positions in charge of the coordinator of the Politics and State Security, National Defense, Military Secretary of the President, State Intelligence, Country Codes, National Defense Institutions, Search and Rescue Council, National Narcotics and the Supreme Court, without having to lose their status as a member of the Army or Police.

However, this discourse is possible because it is based on the needs of officials who have the character and profile that belongs to members of the army, so it’s considered appropriate to make certain tasks optimally in the structural positions of government.

Historically, in fact the term dual function, which is the basis of legitimacy for the role of the socio-political forces of the armed forces began to develop and become popular during the New Era regime.

This begins with the conception of A.H. Nasution on military’ “Middle Way” in 1958 about giving opportunities to army as one of the political forces to participate in the government on the basis of the “principle of a family state”.

With that, the military actually has two quite significant roles and often called “army dual function”, namely in addition to being a defense and security force, military is also a socio-political force.

With the enactment of Law No. 80 Year 1958, army’s social and political functions gained juridical recognition. While the constitutional foundation comes from the 1945 Constitution Article 2 paragraph (1) which positions army as a functional group.

Even at the beginning of the New Order, the foundation that army possessed increased with the issuance of the People Assembly’s provisions which ensured the continuity of the work of army members.

It means that army wants to express its ethics to not only play a role in the military-defense world, but also extends to the socio-political field because both are mutually sustainable.

With military’ dual function, of course this approach was made easier by President Soeharto, given the characteristics of the military which were subject to superiors.

However, if filling in a structural position in a particular civil institution by the army without the transfer of status, then the legislation governing, especially the Army Law, must be changed first by adding the desired agency to the list of ministries/institutions in the law.

Unconstitutionally justified, the government acts carelessly by overstepping legal regulations to save the situation, especially if the situation is not too urgent. That’s, as executives, government policy choices must rely on a positive legal standard corridor and don’t rush to make a partial transformation.

Because the government also needs to consider that basically a structural position within a civil institution is a career position intended for civil servants. If filling in the position is massive and closing the career of civil servants, it can reduce the morale and morale of civil servants.

In addition, philosophically, the position should be filled by people who are educated, trained, and have relevant experience to carry out the duties of an office effectively, even though in principle the army has better performance.

Moreover, through the Act, the desire of military officers has been restrained to return to their barracks. Psychological fear of the practices of domination and the power played by the military in the past is also not easy for people who have inhaled the fresh wind of reformation. Therefore, the government doesn’t rush to knock the hammer on changes in legislation.

Written by Daniel Deha, Email: daniel@theinsiderstories.com