By: Dicky Edwin Hindarto and Alrizky Akbar Hindarto

Omnibus Law is the very controversial law that was developed by the Government and Parliament of Indonesia from the end of 2019.  This law aims to speed up and facilitate all permits and licenses as well as investment procedures, including permits for mining and electricity.  This law is also aimed at creating job opportunities in all sectors, increasing investment, enhancing Indonesia SMEs ecosystem, and increasing Indonesian workers’ social and economic welfare.

The Omnibus Law was originally proposed by the Government of Indonesia and intended to improve and integrate some previous laws that currently had been ratified and implemented in Indonesia such as: minerals and mining law, electricity law, geothermal law, nuclear law, industrial law, and labor law.  In the spirit of creating new jobs and investment, this law tends to increase the role of central government and ease of doing investment.

Many parties believe the Omnibus Law is a reflection of the government’s low commitment to protect Indonesia’s natural resources, forests, land and sea, as well as a big setback for labor related regulations.  The Omnibus Law shows a setback in implementing the principles of sustainable and environmentally sound development which should underlie the national economy in accordance with the 1945 Constitution.

Many parties are worried this omnibus bill will have negative impacts such as coal mines increasing, uncontrolled environmental damage, and threats to domestic labor.  The increasing role of central government also has mandated a re-centralization of mining permits issuance under the energy ministry, instead of governors or regents to ‘streamline’ the application process. Since the environmental damage occurs at the local and regional level, this may have adverse impacts of monitoring and enforcing restrictions on mining companies by regional government.

On the other hand, the draft of New and Renewable Energy Law is the new bill that’s currently being developed and consulted by some of Indonesia’s stakeholders with the intention to speed up the renewable energy implementation.  Previously this draft law is only for renewable energy development, but there are a lot of interventions, particularly from the nuclear power supporters, that make this draft changed from renewable to new and renewable energy.  Unlike the Omnibus Law, this bill is more supported by clean energy activists, environmentalists and renewable energy entrepreneurs than the government and parliament.

One of the initiators of this bill is the Indonesia Renewable Energy Society, which proposed the bill in “the fast track” legislation ratification by the government and parliament in 2019, but they failed to support it.  The Government of Indonesia and the Indonesian parliament have different positions to support this bill, compare to the Omnibus Law that has stronger support.

The CSO coalition for clean energy which is also supported by some big CSOs and organizations are against the inclusion of nuclear energy in the Renewable Energy Bill, while the nuclear powerplant development is regulated in the Omnibus Law. The CSO coalition believe that nuclear power generation has different characteristics compared to renewable energy, as well as a long-term risk that should not be passed on to future generations. In principle, the Renewable Energy Bill is needed to fill the renewable energy gap in the existing law, namely Law no. 30 of 2007 concerning Energy.

From the differences in treatment between Omnibus Law and Renewable Energy Bill, we can understand which policies that are more prioritized by the Government of Indonesia and Indonesia Parliament. We can understand why the renewable energy implementations in Indonesia are still far from its target.

And in the future if our young generations ask to us why Indonesia was very slow to implement renewable energy to protect their future, we can say that we have tried. And failed.