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(Jakarta Post) MK begins hearing on police chief selection, revise Police Law


The Constitutional Court (MK) started hearing arguments in a judicial review of the House of Representatives role in the selection of the National Police chief, as uncertainty over the fate of Comr. Gen. Budi Gunawan, who has been nominated by President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo as the sole candidate for National Police chief, remains unknown.

Four plaintiffs, comprising legal experts and activists from anticorruption watchdogs, demanded the court eliminate the Houses power to approve top cop candidates as stipulated by Article 11 of the 2002 Police Law.

The article says that a police chief is appointed and dismissed by the President, pending approval by the House.

The plaintiffs argue that such aprerogative violates the Constitution, which is built upon a presidential system.

The four petitioners are Feri Amsari, a researcher at the Center of Constitutional Studies (Pusako) at Andalas University in West Sumatra; Hifdzil Alim, a researcher at Gadjah Mada Universitys (UGM) Corruption Studies Center (PU-KAT); former law and human rights deputy minister Denny Indrayana; and Ade Irawan, who represents anticorruption watchdog Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW).

"The Houses role limits the Presidents prerogative because, not only is it inconsistent with the presidential system, but endorsing a police chief who is a [corruption] suspect could hamper the country’s efforts to eradicate corruption," Heru said.

Jokowis decision to nominate Budi has been criticized by antigraft activists, many of whom believe

Jokowi bowed to pressure from political parties in the ruling coalition, particularly, the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P).

Budi was a former adjutant to PDI-P (Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle) chairwoman Megawati Soekarnoputri while she was president

"In a presidential system, the president should have the prerogative to select a candidate without having to consult other branches of government," Heru said, adding that the Presidents prerogative could be limited, but only if the Constitution allowed it.

Denny, one of the petitioners, said earlier that restoring the Presidents prerogative in selecting the police chief could eliminate political horse trading.

Justice Patrialis Akbar told the petitioners to elaborate.

"When we talk about a presidential system, we all know that some ofthe authority held by the President will also involve other institutions. That,s because we want to build checks and balances. Therefore, you need to elaborate upon the argument," he said.

Patrialis also told the plaintiffs to build a comprehensive argument proving their legal standing as citizens and tax payers.

"Does everyone pays taxes feel they can challenge all laws? The petitioners should give a comprehensive argument about the connection between tax payers and this judicial review case," he said.

The hearing was adjourned until next week, when arguments will resume.

The plaintiffs have prepared two expert witnesses for the next hearing Andalas University constitutional law professor Saldi Isra and antigraft activist and state administrative law expert director Zainal Arifin Mochtar.