Indonesian officials have confirmed that President Joko Widodo has signed a presidential decree (Perppu) that would allow the government to disband civil society organizations (locally referred to as mass organizations) that they deem to be radical.
Among those who gave a strong indication that the Perppu had been signed is Presidential Spokesman Johan Budi, who said said that the decree is scheduled to be announced today.
“I just asked the president about the mass organization Perpppu, and his answer was that it will likely be announced tomorrow by Coordinating Political, Legal, and Security Affairs Minister (Wiranto),” he said, as quoted by Antara yesterday.
Budi conceded that he didn’t know the finer details of the Perppu, and that it would all be announced by Wiranto today. However, analysts believe the decree would give the government the legal means to disband radical mass organizations without the court approval currently required by existing laws regarding the dissolution of such organizations.
On May 8, the government announced that they were going to disband hardline Islamic group Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia (HTI). The government argued that HTI’s calls for the establishment of an Islamic caliphate in Indonesia go against the nation’s foundational ideology of Pancasila and the 1945 constitution, both of which guarantee (limited) religious pluralism and freedom in Indonesia.
The ban on HTI is currently pending court approval.
President Jokowi’s Perppu would immediately replace the law on mass organizations should it be approved by parliament.
The country’s more progressive Islamic organizations, such as Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), have pressured the government to pass a decree to ban radical organizations like HTI. Analysts believe that the Perppu could lead not only to the ban of HTI but also other hardline Islamic groups that have spread intolerance and caused public unrest.