Hold fast to principle of constitutional state

Constitutional, government, political

The constitutional state of Indonesia certainly cannot be separated from the work of the founding fathers, who came from diverse backgrounds including law graduates, freedom fighters and wise thinkers.

In the meetings to prepare independence in 1945 they agreed to a country founded under the rule of law and not based on mere power. The desired system of government was also a constitutional one, or a government based on a constitution rather than absolutism.

The concept and thoughts of the founding fathers ultimately gave birth to the Indonesian state, which was then enshrined into the 1945 Constitution: the Indonesian state is a unitary state in the form of a republic and is a constitutional state.

The Indonesian constitution is the highest legal basic norm and which must be obeyed and is the basic principle of the implementation of the Indonesian state, which is further determined by other laws and regulations. The powers provided to the government by the constitution must also be limited by the constitution, so that they are not arbitrary and excessive, through checks and balances.

Protests against the presidential election erupted in riots on May 21 to 22. The political ambition of a handful of political elites triggered riots that crippled all activities around the Elections Supervisory Agency (Bawaslu) office, raised people’s fears and forced businesses to close.

Any accusation of election fraud should be proven in the Constitutional Court, rather than through street protests that end in chaos. All legal matters must be resolved through the judiciary, accompanied with evidence and facts, instead of stirring the masses under the pretext of not believing in the law and insulting the Constitutional Court.

This attitude could provoke widespread anger among people who lack understanding of the complex workings of the law, whereas all the rules of the game have been clearly outlined in the Constitution and in the laws and regulations related to the presidential election.

Insulting the honor of the judiciary can also be classified as contempt of court. In common law countries this action is classified as scandalizing the court, which means insulting judges or courts with the aim of undermining public trust in the justice system.

In Singapore people believe destruction of their country starts with undermining people’s trust in the judiciary.

At the end of 2018 a Singaporean was subject to a maximum sentence of three years imprisonment and a maximum fine after being convicted of contempt of court, for having accused a judge of not being independent and the Singaporean justice system of having no integrity and impartiality.

The entirety of laws that accommodate the election of the president and vice president have been drafted by all factions and political parties and have been approved by the legislature. If there is a perceived injustice, the legislature should also be responsible as the drafter of the law, so that it is not only the judiciary that becomes the scapegoat for the interpretation and implementation of the Constitution and relevant laws.

The law drafted by the legislature must be in line with the Constitution. If it is contradictory, it can be revoked by the Constitutional Court. The laws on the presidential election and other related laws are all used as guidelines because such laws are still valid.

A local proverb says, “When elephants fight, it’s the grass that suffers.”

Not all people understand that neglecting the Constitution will result in chaos and can also lead to power being exercised arbitrarily by the government, leading to tyranny.

The people should unite to encourage the government to continue to carry out the administration of the state guided by the Constitution.

The constitutionalist movement must continue to be echoed in this country on the basis of people’s sovereignty in a democratic constitutional state. The nation’s leaders, especially the participants in the presidential election, must reunite the nation instead of further dividing the nation with their blame game.

Do not let the people be sacrificed as a means to gain power and profit. The political elite must be responsible for stopping demonstrations that waste energy, money, time and the mental health of the people who only want peace.

Let us wait for the Constitutional Court’s decision, which is transparent, objective, fair, independent and impartial. United we stand, divided we fall.

Written by Frans H. Winarta

Published on The Jakarta Post

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