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A typo was suddenly famous after many parties protested against Article 170 Paragraph (1) of the Draft Employment Law which, in principle, violates the order of laws and regulations because the draft states that the Central Government has the authority to change the provisions in the Law through Government Regulations. The Coordinating Minister for Politics, Law and Human Rights, Mahfud MD and the Minister of Law and Human Rights, Yasonna H. Laoly said that there was a typo in Article 170 of the Draft Employment Law. In line with that, Deputy Speaker of the Parliament, Azis Syamsudin, also suspected that there had been a typo as the two state officials said.

Understanding Typo

In Indonesian grammar, the word typo has been shortened to “saltik” and it is one of the new vocabularies in the Indonesian Dictionary (KBBI) which is rarely used. Most people still use the word typo more often. “Saltik” vocabulary is an acronym for typography, used to replace the typo foreign term. According to dictionary cambridge, typo is a small mistake in a text made when it was typed or printed. A more comprehensive description can be seen in Wikipedia which explains that typographical or “saltik” errors are mistakes made during the typing process. This term includes errors due to mechanical failure or slip of the hand or finger but does not include errors that arise due to the ignorance of the author, such as spelling mistakes. Typographical errors can be caused by fingers pressing two adjacent keyboard keys together. Typographical errors are not intentional mistakes. Some typos can be easily recognized, such as typing ‘rain’ to ‘rian’. But in some cases, typos can change the meaning of words or even the meaning of sentences, a case that is often found in Indonesian. For example, the word ‘ketika‘ (when) to ‘ketiak‘ (armpit) have a very different meaning. Mistakes like this won’t be detected by a spell-checking application.

Is there a typo in Article 170 on the draft of Employment Law (Cipta Kerja)?

From various sources circulating in the media, we quote the following: Article 170 Paragraph (1) Draft of Employment Law:

“In the context of accelerating the implementation of an employment strategic policy as referred to in Article 4 paragraph (1), based on this law, the Central Government has the authority to change the provisions in this law and/or change the provisions in the law that are not revised in this law.”

Article 170 Paragraph (2):

“Changes to the provisions referred to in paragraph (1) shall be regulated by Government Regulation.”

Article 170 Paragraph (3): “In the context of stipulating the Government Regulation as referred to in paragraph (2), the Central Government may consult with the head of the House of Representatives of the Republic of Indonesia.”

After careful examination, it turned out that there was no typo in the draft because the provisions in the draft article had been typed properly and correctly. The question that arises is whether state officials like Mahfud MD, Yasona H. Laoly and Azis Syamsudin lack the understanding of the meaning of typo (saltik) as described above? Let the reader judge it.

Therefore, it is not surprising that in one of the media, the Secretary-General of the Federation of Indonesian Labor Unions (“SERBUK”) Khamid Istakhori considered the statement of the Minister of Justice and Human Rights Yasonna Laoly, who called a typo in Article 170 of the draft of Employment Law, to be a fatal statement. “This shows that over a very crucial and substantial issue, the Government tried to arbitrarily hide on the pretext of a typo.” Similarly, the Chair of the Communication and Media Department of the Confederation of Indonesian Labor Unions or KSPI, Kahar S. Cahyono, doubted the reason of the Minister of Justice and Human Rights Yasonna Laoly, who mentioned a typo in relation to Article 170 of the draft of Employment Law, “It’s hard to believe if it’s a typo,” Kahar told a media in Jakarta. According to Kahar, it is hard to believe that a typo occurred because previously the Omnibus Law Task Force had been formed, which involved cross ministries and business organizations. Furthermore, the draft of law, itself can only be accessed by the public after entering to the DPR. The draft was done covertly and therefore Kahar concluded that the draft was carefully prepared.

Fatal Mistake

From a legal perspective, Article 170 of the draft of Employment Law contains a fatal mistake because it violates an applicable legal principle that the higher laws prevail over the lower (lex superiori derogate legi inferiori). How is it possible that a Government Regulation with a lower hierarchy can change the provisions of the law which are clearly higher in the Hierarchy of laws and regulations? There is No need for a Coordinating Minister for Politics, Law and Human Rights and Law like Professor Mahfud MD to understand this principle. There is no need for Minister of Law and Human Rights, Professor of Law and Politicians in the same class as Yasonna Laoli to understand this principle. Law Faculty students can also easily understand the mistake of the draft.

Based on Article 7 paragraph (1) of Law Number 12 of 2011 concerning the Formation of Regulations, the hierarchy or order of laws and regulations in Indonesia consists of:

a. The 1945 Constitution of the Republic of Indonesia;

b. Decree of the People’s Consultative Assembly;

c. Laws/Regulation in Lieu of Law;

d. Government regulations;

e. Presidential decree;

f. Provincial Regional Regulations; and

g. Regency Regional Regulations.

Considering that Laws have a higher hierarchy than Government Regulation, Article 170 of the draft of Employment Law contains a fatal mistake because it violates applicable legal principles.

Proposed Investigation

The challenge for the Government is whether they would like to stick to typos as an excuse for their mistake and invite the House of Representatives to revise typos. If yes, will the problem be finished? If this choice is made, the credibility of the government can be reduced because the community is smart enough to see the irregularities that occur. In my opinion, this issue needs to be investigated more comprehensively by the Government than just saying there is a typo because after all, this is not a typo. The House of Representatives will then determine whether Article 170 of the draft Employment Law will be revoked altogether or left alone because there is no typo in the draft article.

It should be suspected that there were people who intentionally included or slipped the draft article into the draft of Employment Law. It is suspected that there is a “mastermind” behind the person’s actions. It should be observed, for the benefit of whom the draft article is inserted. Therefore, the Government should consider conducting an investigation to uncover this problem, as well as providing a transparent explanation to the public about what actually happened, rather than just saying there is a typo.

Hope it’s useful,


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