Omnibus Law and Marine Devastation

Today (27/04) I get the opportunity to attend one of the webinars. It is a chance for me to increase my muscle knowledge about a green topic. The event namely WFH (Webinar From Home) hosted by KEHATI (Indonesian Biodiversity Conservation Trust Fund) in collaboration with Mongabay and also the Journalist Learning Forum. I amazed by the topic, Omnibus Law dan Dampaknya Terhadap Sumber Daya Hayati Laut Indonesia. Or in another word, how Omnibus Law could affect marine devastation.

The speaker in this event is Mr. Rony Megawanto. He is the program director of KEHATI. At the moment, I realize that I am around journalists from small until big media in Indonesia. At glance, omnibus law becomes the new shortcut to open millions of jobs. But, some experts think that it still needs to be review again. In some parts, it is too ambiguous.

Omnibus Law becomes an interesting case. Amid threats from the coronavirus, an oil war, a currency war, and the drying up of demand and supply for goods and services around the world, the plan to pass an omnibus law should be halted. Not only has it lost relevancy, but this major regulation — uniting more than 1,000 regulations in 79 laws from several sectors into 11 clusters — has the potential to be in breach of the law, is full of tricks, and has been forced through.

Many legal experts have spoken out. Some have said that the omnibus law has no legal basis. Law №12/2011 on the passing of laws as revised by Law №15/2019, for example, makes no mention at all of the mechanisms for drawing up an omnibus law. Forcing through this major regulation will put the government and the House of Representatives (DPR) in a position where they will be in breach of laws that they made.

Enough about Omnibus Law, technically. Now let’s see how that kind of regulation gives extra damage to our marine ecosystem. As we know that Indonesia is a part of the biggest coral triangle in the world. Some researchers called Amazon’s Ocean. More than a thousand species live inside. Start from fish, coral, seagrass, and also mangrove. This potency is not proportional to the fishery condition. It is only 3% of big ships could catch the fish along with ZEE (Zona Ekonomi Eksklusif). Less of them are small ships with great pressure for the coastal ecosystem.

Omnibus Law gives special regulations to the small fisherman. They don’t need to file the business permit. They can catch fish everywhere and got an incentive. The lack of regulation could make the big ones also get special regulations. Of course, the overfishing threats will reach the MSY (Maximum Sustainable Yield). Furthermore, the return policy to re-centralization will cause the central government overwhelmed. Panelist not sure our government could handle it.

Here is some suggestion to tackle the devastation caused by Omnibus Law, if it’s passed.

We need to keep sustainable development as the main topic in every decision making.

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Researcher of National Battery Research Institute, The Climate Reality Leader and Author of 20 Books

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Moh Wahyu Syafi'ul Mubarok

Researcher of National Battery Research Institute, The Climate Reality Leader and Author of 20 Books