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

Jakarta (TheInsiderStories) – Last June, President Joko Widodo signed a presidential decree concerning on the Indonesian military dual function. It said, this rule made to respect the profession and diverse expertise within the country’ army.

“This presidential rule comes into force on the date of promulgation,” read Article 30 of the regulation, which was promulgated by the Minister of Law and Human Rights Yasonna Laoly on June 17.

Immediately, the new policy get criticisms from the society. But, the Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs Luhut Binsar Panjaitan stated that the rule need to fill high level position in eight ministries. He added, this rule is not only applied in Indonesia, but also in other countries, like United States.

Executive Director of Amnesty International Usman Hamid opined, the new presidential decree added an increasing number of the active military position in certain posts. According to him, the risk of flooding the active the Indonesian Force in civil positions has the potential to become a serious problem.

The reason is, from Amnesty International’ records, there are 3,823 active the military members who have sat in 10 non-governmental departments or institutions. In detail, were 265 high-ranking officers, 697 colonels and 2,861 under the rank of colonel. The highest number was placed in the Defense Ministry.

“In the Defense Ministry there were 2,076 members of the Army, with details of 85 high ranking officers, 427 colonels, and the rest with the rank of colonel down,” said Hamid.

He added that the presidential decree could indeed be an attempt to solve the problem of development career of the army apparatus. He rated, its better if the president Decree does not create new problems in the state civil apparatus, which are still experiencing various challenges in the government bureaucracy.

“It seems that the government has difficulty finding other ways that can accommodate the interests of the state on the middle and high ranking officers, who do not have positions in the Indonesian military,” he noted.

This discourse was also highlighted by the parliament, because it was considered to have returned the dual function military of the Soeharto regime. Deputy chairperson of the Indonesian Parliament Herman Khaeron said basically civil officials should not be occupied by active military soldiers.

He emphasized that the work of military soldiers to ministries and civil institutions was not in accordance with Law Number 34 Year of 2004, concerning the military and was contrary to the mandate of reform.

“In article 47 it is stated, soldiers can only occupy civilian positions after resigning or retiring from active military service,” Khaeron said.

The law also stated that active soldiers can only occupy positions in an office in charge of the coordinator of the political and national security sector, national defense, presidential military secretary, state intelligence, state code, National Defense Agency, National Defense Council, Search and Rescue, national narcotics, and the Supreme Court.

But Khaeron revealed, that to this day the draft revision of the Law had not been sent to the parliament. It will wait for the proposed revision and do not want the military dual-function to be revived.

Similar criticism was conveyed by researcher Center for Strategic and International Studies, Evan Laksmana. He said that the soaring number of unemployed generals could be predicted since Law Number 34 Year 2004 concerning the military was ratified.

The general retirement age which increased from 55 to 58 years caused the queue to increase the rank of officers below it to be longer. In addition, the end of the dual-function (the period when the army could occupy civilian positions) since the reform era caused many high-ranking officers to lose their jobs.

Supposedly, said Laksmana, the government took anticipatory steps since the law was made. Resolved through good personnel management and regeneration. It cannot only pass through short-term solutions with the addition of new structures.

Meanwhile, the Indonesian Human Rights Monitor, Imparsial, said that the revision of the Military Law was not in line with the military reform agenda and could disrupt the democratic governance system. The reform requires the military to stop politics and one of its features is that the active military no longer occupies civilian positions.

The Director of Imparsial, Al-Araf, assessed that the addition of dozens of new post positions in the military was only a short-term solution. At the same time, the state budget for the military will swell. He estimates that at least 40-50 percent of the defense budget will be used up to pay for militarists personnel.

While on the other hand Indonesia is in desperate need of improving the welfare of soldiers and strengthening a weapon in the midst of a limited budget.

Al-Araf also assessed that the accumulation of the number of officers was also caused by the recruitment of military staff and command schools that were not downsized. Every year, there are around 300 graduates. If the number of school recruitment is not reduced, there will be 600 officers unemployed by 2027, he said.

Based on data from the Ministry of Defense, the number of high-ranking military officers who have been unemployed has continued to accumulate since nine years ago. In the Army, for example, in 2011 there were 11 generals who did not get positions. That number jumped to 63 generals in 2017.

Written by Willy Matrona, Email: theinsiderstories@gmail.com