Public facilities including malls, offices must have Indonesian names, new presidential regulation stipulates

President Joko Widodo. Photo: Twitter/@jokowi
President Joko Widodo. Photo: Twitter/@jokowi

President Joko Widodo has passed a Presidential Regulation (Perpres) on the use of Bahasa Indonesia, and boy is it going to upset some South Jakarta millennials.

The Perpres, a copy of which you can read here (it’s in Bahasa Indonesia, obviously), was passed on Sept. 30, with regulations that mostly affect government officials, such as how it’s mandatory for them to speak in Bahasa Indonesia when delivering formal speeches domestically or abroad (though in circumstances that necessitate a speech be delivered in a foreign tongue, a Bahasa Indonesia transcript must be provided).

Going further down in the Perpres, however, there are several articles that may affect businesses and everyday life in Indonesia in general. For example, Article 33 of the Perpres states that, “Bahasa Indonesia is mandatory for the naming of buildings, apartments, offices, commercial centers that are owned by Indonesian citizens or an Indonesian legal body.”

Does this mean that malls with English words in their names like Senayan City or Grand Indonesia would have to change their names to Kota Senayan and Indonesia Agung respectively?

Perhaps. But, at the same time, the Perpres also states that foreign names which have historical, cultural and/or religious value are exempt from the rule, though it’s easy to see how this exemption would be open to interpretation.

In addition, the Perpres also mandates that Indonesian-owned products and brands must be named using Bahasa Indonesia. However, the exemption above also applies in this case, so it’s highly unlikely we’ll be seeing the likes of Raja Burger or Pondok Pizza (whose franchise rights are owned by Indonesians, we should mention, before you point out that they are international brands) anytime soon.

Flashback: Should foreign workers in Indonesia be worried about a requirement to learn Bahasa Indonesia?

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