Monday, July 25, 2011


      Jakarta, July 25, 2011 (ANTARA) - Indonesian people - those in the low-income bracket in particular, have  to exercise a still undetermined additional amount of patience  before they can enjoy one of their constitutionally guaranteed basic rights as the government has asked for more time to  pass the Bill on the Social Security Executing Agency (BPJS).
         Every year, more than 150 million people or 44 families face financial problems due to medical costs burdening them, according to the Action Committee of Social Security in (KAJS) at an ASEAN Civil Society Conference in Jakarta last May 2011.

          Around 25 million households or more than 100 million people are constantly living on the brink of poverty "due to high medical service costs," KAJS said as quoted by
        Indonesia, with a total population of around 237 million, has enacted Law No. 40 on the National Social Security System since 2004.
        But seven years since then, social security has not been implemented, pending the formation of BPJS. 
   Deliberations on the Bill on BPJS have been held over the past four parliament sittings but no agreement was reached by the parties involved - legislators and the government.  
     One of the problems where the DPR and the government failed to agree is on the transformation of four state insurance enterprises (BUMN), namely PT Taspen (for civil servants), PT Jamsostek (for workers), PT Askes (health insurance for civil servants), and PT Asabri (for military personnel), into one institution, namely BPJS.
        The Bill on BPJS was very important to Indonesian citizens, especially those in the low-income brackets, because it concerned health, death, workplace accident insurance, pensions and old-age security.
        Some eight cabinet ministers needed to be involved in deliberations on the Bill, he said.
         "We have worked hard to finish it, but the fact is it was not over. If it's called apology, yes we apologize because we failed to finish it on time," Speaker of the House of Representatives (DPR) Marzuki Alie said at Parliament Building here on Friday (July 22).
          Marzuki expressed his regret for the failure to pass the Bill  BPJS when closing the fourth parliament sitting 2010-2011.
           He excused that the Bill on BPJS could not be completed because the supra-structure in the parliamentarian institution was weak to support the performance of legislators. The DPR decided to postpone the deliberation until the next sitting.
           After closing the parliament sitting, Marzuki Alie received representatives of protesters demanding the Parliament to pass the Bill on BPJS into law.  
     Around 35,000 thousands of protesters consisting of among others members of the Action Committee for Social Security (KAJS) and the Executive Board of All Indonesian University Students staged a rally in front of the Parliament building, urging the passage of the Bill before October 2011.  
     The adoption of the law on the provision of social security for all Indonesians was the main demand of workers mass rallies to observe International Labor Day on May 1, 2011 in the Indonesian capital and other major cities in the country.
         House of Representatives (DPR) Deputy Speaker Priyo Budi Santoso last May reminded the government of its promise to submit its list of outstanding issues related to the Bill on BPJS to the House.
        "If the government fails to keep its promise, there will be no agreement on the bill and deliberations on it will again meet deadlock," Priyo said at the parliament building.
          Manpower and Transmigration Minister Muhaimin Iskandar recently said much progress has been made in parliamentary deliberations on  the BPJS Bill but  more time was needed before it could be passed.
         "Much progress has been made in deliberations in the House's Working Committee on the BPJS bill but the government still needs more time to consider a pending matter," he said.
         "There is still something the government needs to study deeper, namely  concerning the transformation of four social security executors," he said.
         According to him, the government, however, needed longer time to look for a more appropriate formula concerning the substance related to formation of  the Social Security Executing Agency (BPJS).
         He said the transformation of four BUMNs (state enterprises), namely Askes, Jamsostek, Asabri and Taspen must be conducted gradually over a still indeterminable period of time.
        The minister believed that for now, the four BUMNs executing social securities must be maintained, so that it would not change the existing social security system which was now running  well.
         Besides, the four BUMNs had so far been quite healthy and were not  burdening the state's finances, he added.
         Even if the Bill on BPJS was passed and the transformation of the four BUMNs was completed, the BPJS could only function by 2014 at the earliest, according to the Finance Ministry Secretary General, Mulia Nasution.
        "Everything needs a process and time, so BPJS cannot  be implemented instantly as wished  by many parties," he said.
        Supporting infrastructures such as government regulations and database would be needed to implement the planned law, he said.
         Last week (July 18), Coordinating Minister for People's Welfare Agung Laksono officially opened a National Working Meeting on the National Social Security System (SJSN).
        "The working meeting is expected to promote the togetherness spirit and goodwill to reach an agreement on transformation of social security  for the implementation of SJSN in line with the nine principles of SJSN,"  Agung said.   
      The nine principles are mutual help, nonprofit, transparency, prudence,  accountability, supportability, portability, obligatory participation, and mandated funds. 
   To implement the SJSN, a legal entity called BPJS must be set up, he explained.
        It seems that a reservation against the implementation of the social security system has come from business circles. Chairman of the Indonesian Businessmen's Association (Apindo) Sofyan Wanandi said the business community had held several meetings to discuss the BPJS issue.
         Business community members  were worried that if the four BUMNs were merged, the informal sector's financing needs would burden the business sector.
        "What will happen if the government does not have money, and the burden is transferred to the business community  because the nature of BPJS is voluntary. So, it's better not to try something that we don't know how to implement," he said.
          In short, the business community does not want to see additional costs because companies have so far already been paying  part of  manpower's social security cost, he said.  ***4***
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(T.F001/A/F001/F001) 25-07-2011 14:54:37

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