A wave of deadly bombings in Indonesia has put the spotlight on lawmakers and anti-terrorism laws that give police enhanced powers to take preemptive action but which have languished in the parliament since 2016.
President Joko Widodo said on Monday the government may issue a rule in lieu of law, known as perpu, if parliament fails to pass revision to 2003 anti-terrorism laws by June.
The comments from Widodo, known as Jokowi, come 12 months after he called for lawmakers to expedite the passage of the revised laws in the wake of twin suicide attacks in
the capital that killed several police officers. “This is a crucial legal umbrella for the police in taking firm actions, whether in terms of taking preventive or firm actions,” Widodo said. “If by June, or by the end of the next sitting session, this is yet to be completed, I will issue a perpu.”
The latest attacks underscore concerns over rising sectarian tensions in the world’s most populous Muslim majority nation. The new anti-terror laws, which were introduced into parliament in February 2016, would give police sweeping powers of arrest and the ability to detain suspects for up to six months. They would also make it an offence for Indonesians to travel abroad in a bid to join terrorist groups.
The legislation adds offenses such as taking part in military training at home or abroad, communicating about conducting terrorist acts and joining or recruiting for a declared terrorist organisation.
Authorities would also be given the power to strip convicted terrorists of their passports and citizenship.
An explosion rocked the main police office at Surabaya on Monday, while at least 14 people, including six suicide bombers were killed and dozens injured in three separate bombings at churches in Surabaya on Sunday, according to police.