Four amendments to the Constitution of Indonesia was approved by the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) on 1999 until 2002 period.
Procedure to amend the constitution is dictated on Article 37 of the Constitution. The amendment is wholly processed by the legislature, on this case the MPR as a joint sitting of its two components, the People's Representative Council (DPR) and the Regional Representative Council (DPD).
Constitutional amendment procedure are dictated by the Article 37 of the Constitution. The current procedure were introduced by the Fourth amendment to the constitution in 2002.
The article requires an amendment to be proposed by at least a third of the entire People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) members on a written form describing the proposed amendments and its justification. The quorum for a parliamentary special session to amend the constitution are set on two-thirds majority of the MPR members. An amendment proposal needs only a simple majority of 50%+1 to be passed by the MPR. The previous amendment procedure requires 2/3 majority for an amendment to pass; this was modified to a simple majority on the fourth amendment of the constitution.
The first 1945 Constitution was abrogated by the Federal Constitution of 1949 for the entire period of the short-lived Republic of the United States of Indonesia, and later by the Provisional Constitution of 1950 on the Liberal democracy period in Indonesia (1950-1959). The 1945 Constitution was restored by a Presidential Decree on 5 July 1959 to address the Konstituante failure to set the replacement of the 1950 Constitution.
On the New Order regime, the authority committed to not to amend the constitution as they perceived the constitution as final and its "sanctity" should be protected. Despite the MPR entrenched its no-amendment position on the TAP MPR 1/1983, the MPR also dictates procedure to amend the constitution which includes proposal to be submitted by minimum of 4 (out of 5) complete parliamentary fraction members and a two-thirds majority for the proposed amendment to pass. After the initial passage, the law further dictates for a constitutional referendum authorised by the President to take place, with a double supermajority of 90% of electorate turnout and support votes is required. In case the threshold was achieved, the MPR could continue and finalises the amendment process.
After 1998 Reform, the new regime increasingly open on constitutional amendment proposal. The law requires a referendum to amend the constitution passed in 1985 was revoked in March 1999, significantly simplify future constitutional amendment process. MPR Speaker Amien Rais presided over the entire four MPR sessions to amend the constitution on 1999-2002 period.
The first amendment was ratified on MPR parliamentary session in 14–21 October 1999. On the first amendment, there were nine articles that were amended by the parliament, those were Article 5, 7, 9, 13, 14, 15, 17, 20, and 21.
The amendment introduces term limit of 5 years renewable once for both president and vice president, and also allowing president to be inaugurated before only the MPR speakers and Supreme Court justices on exceptional circumstances. The amendment also restricts the executive power as the president currently requires MPR or Supreme Court consent beforehand on several occasions, such as before appointing ambassadors or granting amnesty.
The amendment revoked presidential power to write laws, as the power are now exclusively of the legislature, with the president are able only to propose laws instead of directly write laws.
The amendment recognises autonomous status of Indonesian regions and introduces direct election for regional leaders. The amendment also redefines functions of the DPR, and separation of functions of the military and the police. The second amendment introduces Nusantara as Indonesia's territorial character, new articles on human rights, and recognition of the constitutional status of the national anthem and the national emblem.
The third amendment provided constitutional basis for the establishment of the Constitutional Court and removed clauses regarding the State Policy Guidelines (Garis Besar Haluan Negara, abbrev. GBHN) enacted by the People's Consultative Assembly as executives guidelines.
The fourth amendment was passed on MPR parliamentary session in 1–11 August 2002.
The fourth amendment removed articles concerning the Supreme Advisory Council.
Proposals to amend the constitution for its fifth was heard since the final constitutional amendment was passed in 2002, and the most serious proposals was heard since 2019. The current proposals to the amendment are concerned on the state policy guidelines (GBHN) restoration, strengthening on Regional Representative Council (DPD RI) authority, and on the presidency. As of 2021, proposed amendment on the GBHN restoration received most traction as major governing parties expressed their support to the proposal.
Public response to the proposed amendment are relatively negative, as they noted the amendment is not urgent amidst the current COVID-19 pandemic in Indonesia more urgent to be addressed instead. Public members also voiced their concern that the proposed amendment would modify the presidential term limit as the current term is the final for president Joko Widodo whose term expired in 2024 and is ineligible for reelection. To tackle public opposition to the amendment, MPR Speaker Bambang Soesatyo convinced the public that the amendment would not include other articles outside articles necessary for the GBHN restoration.
State policy guidelines restorationEdit
During the New Order era, the GBHN was enacted by the then-supreme People's Consultative Assembly (MPR RI) as development guidelines for the executives. The GBHN was abrogated by the third amendment in 2000 to perfect the separation of powers in Indonesia's presidential system.
Earliest proposal to reintroduce the State Policy Guidelines was made in 2019, and as of 2021 is mostly supported by members of governing parties who justified the necessity for the guidelines restoration to assure long-term development plan, as currently the national policy guidelines are merely enacted by MPR decree perceived as susceptible for executives' contravention.
Oppositions to the GBHN restoration pointed out the GBHN is unnecessary as the executive and the legislative are equal, and the MPR could not mandated the executives as it is supreme over the presidency. They also concerned the GBHN would make the president again subordinate to the MPR RI as during the New Order era, undoing the separation of powers achieved by the 1998 Reform and earlier constitutional amendments.
The Regional Representative Council (Indonesian: Dewan Perwakilan Daerah, DPD) was established upon the third amendment to the Constitution in 2001 by elevating the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR RI) regional representatives' group status as members of the upper house of the parliament. The DPD power is relatively weak compared with upper houses in other countries - The DPD is responsible only on regional government matters, with no law-making or veto power relative to the People's Representative Council (DPR RI).
Amidst constitutional amendment discourses from 2020, DPD members supported constitutional amendment to strengthen the authority of the upper house, allowing for a perfect bicameralism and checks and balances between the MPR RI's two houses.
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