Insulting the President

Dec 8th, 2006, in News, by

Some of the laws against insulting the president were quashed by the Constitutional Court.

The Constitutional Court of Indonesia (Mahkamah Konstitusi, MK) on the 6th revoked a Dutch colonial era law that made insulting the leaders of the country a crime, in a tight 5-4 decision. Articles 134, 136, and 137 of the criminal code (KUHP) are now no longer in force. The majority opinion stated that articles 134, 136, and 137 represented a restriction on democratic rights, in that they could hinder criticism of, or enquiry into, errors or crimes committed by the leadership.

In the dissenting camp, those justices who voted to uphold the law were I Dewa Gede Palguna, Soedarsono, H.A.S. Natabaya and H. Achmad Roestandi.

The demand for a review of the law was filed by lawyers acting for Eggy Sudjana, who is currently being tried for libeling presidential aides.

Eggy Sudjana
Big mouth, Eggy Sudjana.

The law has also been recently used against students who insulted president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and vice president Yusuf Kalla during street protests. In October, a university student, Fahrur Rahman, was sentenced to almost four months jail for calling the president and his deputy "cat sh*t" during a protest to demand that former leader Suharto be put on trial.

One oddity of the way the law was enforced previously is that police would, by their own efforts alone, begin prosecutions of people, even without the "insulted" party making a complaint, or regardless of how he felt about the matter.

However there still exist several other articles in the criminal code of a similar nature, which were not challenged in this court hearing and remain in force. Articles 310-321 deal with criticisms of the personal qualities of the president while article 207 makes insulting the president and vice president, in their roles as officials, a crime. hukumonline


12 Comments on “Insulting the President”

  1. avatar Retarders says:

    However there still exist several other articles in the criminal code of a similar nature, which were not challenged in this court hearing and remain in force. Articles 310-321 deal with criticisms of the personal qualities of the president while article 207 makes insulting the president and vice president, in their roles as officials, a crime.

    Damn, I wish I haven’t said Jusuf Kalla looks like Wayang.

  2. avatar Miss Indo 07 says:

    And I wish I didn’t laugh.

  3. avatar Jutatip says:

    Lucky me. I kept it with me that I agree with you, retarder.

  4. avatar Retarders says:

    Easy for you to say, you’re a “nobody”, how can they track and find you?

  5. avatar Ingmar says:

    Most countries got laws against insulting their rulers..It will take ages to change this, in any country

  6. avatar Deacon says:

    Most countries got laws against insulting their rulers..It will take ages to change this, in any country.

    Where did you hear that? I was under the impression that most countries didn’t have laws against insulting their rulers. Maybe it is something Indonesian politicians have said to make sure that the Indonesian people get a sense of normalcy about their country. If they think the rest of the world is like that, they may be reluctant to resist.

    I have talked to some Chinese immigrants in my country and they tell me that they didn’t know what democracy was until they left China.

    Some of the laws against insulting the president were quashed by the Constitutional Court.

    I am sure most people would agree that this is a change for the better. There are politicians who would think that any criticism of their actions is an insult.

    I hope that they also get rid of laws that result in people getting locked up for 10 to 15 years simply for raising the West Papuan flag.

  7. avatar Ingmar says:

    @deacon

    I live in the Netherlands, and we still got laws against insulting the queen. And I believe the same is true for the UK.

    But I do feel these kind of laws are some of the past, these laws only fits with authoritarian regime. And I do hope both Netherlands and Indonesia are not one of those.

  8. avatar O. Bule says:

    Government leaders need all the insulting they can get, in any society.

    O. Bule

  9. avatar Deacon says:

    I live in the Netherlands, and we still got laws against insulting the queen.

    The Netherlands of all places! I thought it was a very socially liberal country.

    And I believe the same is true for the UK.

    I’m not sure but I doubt it. The Sex Pistols version of ‘God Save The Queen’ would have been considered insulting.

  10. avatar Tomaculum says:

    Government leaders need all the insulting they can get, in any society.

    They are human too and they have the same right like us. Why insulting, isn’t justified criticism enough?
    In Germany, if I insult my neighbour in front of witnesses, I have to pay penalty for this misdeed, never mind if my “victim” is a garbageman or the chancellor.
    What would Eggy Sudjana do, if someone names him “motherf*c*er” in front of witnesses?

  11. avatar Margaret says:

    In a democratic country criticism is allowed and is something healthy.
    That we should not insult other people is a moral obligation; respecting other persons whether they are drivers, presidents, or teachers or whatever, is something that cannot be imposed by laws and judges. The only method to promote respect is by educating people, by nurturing a human rights culture. All human rights activists can only hope that old fashioned laws – that were used by the colonial power to oppress the Indonesian people – will finally be abolished, and that Indonesian leadership will understand the importance of human rights.

  12. avatar Dragonwall says:

    Many of the Indonesians were still behave ignorantly by ignoring the fact that surround them.

    Say what you like. Is Indonesia, after that many President changes hand after Soeharto, any better? I will tell you your answer is NO. Why?

    Being ignorant and not wanting to belief that they have been grossly manipulated makes an Indonesian a worst illiterate.

    Have any of you guys see those Jaksa, from the Indonesian AG’s office going to banks everyday making setoran. If the money were confiscated then it will be into the state coffer, why into foreign bank. Why everyone is so eager to crop up a case hastily and make a big issue? All for money.

    I personally witness how a deceased former Jaksa Agung who had three ships loaded with electronics and valuable items being docked and cargoes confiscated as they were beng charged for smuggling and evading tax. That is the right thing to do. That is good. Uphold the law. But what happen next. He called up our office and spoke with one of our partners and in early 90’s asked for 1 billion rups. Phones were always ringing when people hearing news of such good buys came and quickly all the cargoes were gone that reap him almost 3 billion rups. How nice. This guy immediately bought six Benz for his own use and later convert himself into Islam.

    People who are in the Public office frequenting banks to make deposit in foreign currencies. I saw them all lining up in the Stanchart, Chase, Citi bank. Why? In fact if the government wants to trace all these corrupt money they could get a presidential order for BI and the corrupt practice bureau to subpoena the bank into submitting such details. Why go all around the world to search for something like a needle in a haystack!

    Of course there were corrupt people in the Yayasan. Do you think a President will be corrupt and had that many strings tied to him? Logical thinking will tell you that it is a big NO. Try and see if the could indite Soeharto. They are of course being done in a discreet manner.

    Tell me what had Soeharto done? Destroying Indonesia! No in fact he had done more good than any other president did. People forget his credit he did for Indonesia. The kind of security he had put Indonesia became unsurpass by any in presidential office. Though discriminative towards the Chinese, but life was easy and living environment was more ambient than now. Don’t you think so.

    These morons were trying to prove that they are somebody but will end up with nothing. They acted on impulse.

    A president that had done so much for the well being of the Indonesian people, put aside discrimination, is like people who do not understand the saying ‘Minum Air Harus Tahu Sumbernya’.

    For the good times no one give him praise but after he was impeach fingers started to point at all direction for what his corrupt government official did.

    Look at China. What happenned. After the Tian An Men incident Zhao Zhi Yang was impeached and place under house arrest. China got better. In running a country that person needs to have an iron hand like LKY, Thatcher, Meir, Mahatir, and the current Chinese cabinet, Li Peng though he wasn’t that tough after all.
    Go back to history, Mongolia was part of Chinese heritage, Macao, Hongkong, Taiwan, N. Korea. N. Vietnam etc.

    Indonesia does not need people like, Habibie, Megawati, Jusuf Kalla, Hamzah Haz, Amien Rais you name them. Tell the world how they look like in the political arena.
    Why is Habibie running away in seclusion to Germany. And he want to build another aircraft? Other government that bought Indonesian made aircraft were place in museum for display of goodwill only.

    I see it as hatred and if you are a good Indonesian, a person who is able to reason and weigh the good and bad, you will find Soeharto a much better President than anyone in office before and after him.

    Those fraksi fraksi kind of stuff. If you really translate that word fraksi is actually ‘sepotong’.

    Want to be a good religious leader stay within your jurisdiction. Want to be a good governancce stay in your own position and do your job.

    For Indonesia to get out of the crisis is to relinguish those who are partai head and replace them with those with acedamic achievements and diligence. Forget people like Abu Rizal Bakrie. He is a b**t**d.
    Give SBY a hand. He had the military background. He only lacks support. He is far more intelligent than others given the opportunity that his hands are not tied.

    Bring back those who have proven credentials whether they are Order Lama, Order Baru.

    Set Up a CPIB. Independent and only answer to the President. That is how Singapore did it. Eradicate all those corrupt officials. Bring in new blood awash the old gfn time wasting people in cabinet.
    Ya Menjadi anggota DPR MPR kan gengsi. Ada duit, posisi, cewek yang dibiayai pemerintah kan enak.

    Given the opportunity there are that many people in Indonesia both local and foreign graduate not given a chance to be in office. Indonesia will do better.

    There was a a good friend of mine and retired general who was Soeharto’s pilot and retired before 55. Imagine that in AURI. Anyone will sit for as long as they could but this guy wants out. He was employed as our Head of Security. He was set up and had cause his job. This guy is a good Muslim. He once told me, why these people insist on going to pray at the Musholla or Mesjid on Friday. If the religion is in you then it is in the heart.

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