Political Party Point of View on DPR Institutional Reform
Since 1999, the Indonesian society has pressured the DPR on the issue of their attendance records in the special sessions, commissions meetings and plenary session. The DPR Code of Conduct has specifically emphasized the importance of individual attendance in every meeting. However, the society reviews the Code of Conduct as ineffective in terms of regulating the DPR Members to attend every meeting.
?P: In your partys opinion, is it necessary to have the DPR attendance sheet before and at the end of the session? Why? Or, does your party have a policy or a proposal regarding attendance record? Why?
· What is the REAL problem with attendance? Ask journalists. It is probably lack of access to the information, but also the procedure for collecting the information in the first place
· Interestingly, the DPR recently installed fingerprint reading time clocks to track the movements of DPR staff. Would they be interested in such a system for Members?
· Members of the DPR must attend commission, committee and plenary sessions so that they keep informed of important issues and so that they have an opportunity to speak up on behalf of their constituents.
· Virtually all legislatures provide a system to
· The current attendance system
· The question could be more specific and ask the parties to commit to ensuring that the attendance record is made available to the public within 24 hours of the meeting.
· The question could also ask the parties to commit to a system that exists elsewhere.
· A question might also ask if they support increased penalties for members who do not attend sessions without a valid excuse? (international experience might be good here)
· Do you support a provision to make attendance records for all meetings in the DPR available to the public within 24 hours?
· In Taiwan, legislators are fined $200 for each day they are absent from the legislature without a valid reason. Would you support a similar system in Indonesia?
- Access to Information
The society already has a negative image about the DPR in terms of providing access of accurate, concise, and up to date information to the public. As a public institution, the DPR should be more open in providing information about the DPR programs/activities, especially the process, the implementation, and results of each DPR program.
?P: In your partys opinion, how far should the DPR, as a public and peoples representative - institution, be more open in providing access to the members and public? Why?
· The provision of accurate and timely information is essential if the DPR is to gain the support of the public.
· This takes a clear commitment from the DPR and the resources necessary to make this information available to the public
· The media cannot report on and the public cannot participate in the legislative process unless they have the information necessary to get involved. (schedule of meetings, text of draft laws (including amendments), etc.)
· While various rules, regulations and standing order provisions mention the provision of information, there is no clear
· The issue of transcripts of all DPR meetings is so important that it may be worthy of its own question
· Virtually all legislatures in democratic countries provide a full transcript of all proceedings. The media, public and the parties themselves benefit from the provision of this information
· Do you support the creation of a unique Access to Information Code for the DPR which clearly outlines the list of information products available from the DPR, where they will be made available and the identification of sufficient resources to implement this new system?
- Transparency of the operating budget of the DPR
One of the responsibilities of the DPR is the transparency of its operational budget. The DPR also functions to supervise the Executive. The question will be, how can the DPR convince the society that it will function the way it should, meanwhile the DPR is not transparent of its operating budget?
?P: in your partys opinion, should the transparency of the operating budget of the DPR be part of the process of building confidence within the society? Why? Does your party have a proposal or program on improving the transparency of the operating budget of the DPR?
· The operating budget of the DPR is not available for review by the public and indeed, by members themselves. Clearly, it is in the public interest to ensure that the DPR has sufficient funds to undertake its legislative, oversight and budgetary functions.
· This issue is self-evident and the question should therefore be more direct. The members, themselves, do not have access to this information. This should be emphasized.
· Do you support the full and transparent publication of a detailed line-item operating budget for the DPR which clearly lists each and every planned expenditure?
- Autonomy of the DPR in the design of the operating budget and the control of Staff.
The design of the operating budget of DPR and the control of staff still depends on the Executive. This condition will affect the performance of the DPR in supervising the Executive.
?P: In your partys opinion, should the DPR have the autonomy to design its own budget and to control the staff? Why?
· In a separation of powers system, both the Executive and Legislative branches must be able to exercise their responsibilities independent of each other.
· Many observers and DPR Members have complained that the Executive still plays too large a role in the administration and management of the DPR
· Financial autonomy is a crucial component to ensure the independence of the legislature, yet the Executive still plays a key role in determining the size of the DPR budget
· Do you support changes to existing legislation and regulations to provide the DPR with more clearer autonomy from the Executive in setting the Operating Budget of the DPR?
- Status of DPR Staff
According to legislation, the professional staff of the DPR are state servants and are many policies and procedures pertaining to the hiring, evaluation and transferring of these staff fall under the jurisdiction of the Executive, rather than the legislature itself. Many countries have opted to create a separate, independent apparatus for the professional staff serving the legislature to ensure their independence from Executive influence.
Question: Do you support the establishment of a clearly independent professional DPR staff that is responsible to the DPR institution, rather than to the Executive?
- Regulations of Public Consultation Concerning Draft Laws
Most of the Indonesian societies think that the DPR shows less interest in conducting public consultation during the legislative process where valuable inputs from the citizens should be welcomed. The existing public consultations are merely formalities where inputs, views and ideas do not have significant affects in the process of decision making in the DPR.
?P: In your partys opinion, how far should the DPR conduct public consultation during the legislative process? Why? How this should be organized and implemented?
· The issue of public participation in the legislative process concerns both media and NGOs and citizens.
· Without clear guidelines on the types of public consultation available, it is difficult for society to interact with the DPR in an effective way.
· What are the specific complaints of NGOs, the media or business groups with respect to accessing the legislative process. Hopefully this can be linked to a deficiency in the standing orders or rules.
· Even in countries with adequate provisions for public consultation, there are often complaints that decisions are taken before hand and that the consultation is often a meaningless exercise.
· Perhaps the provisions regarding public consultation are not clear enough and allow politicians the liberty to arbitrarily decide not to consult people. In some countries, regulations specify that all legislation must be available for public comment.
· The question should try to envision a specific solution.
· Perhaps there needs to be a change in an existing law or standing order that will make it easier for groups and individuals to participate in a meaningful way in the public consultation process.
· Most DPR members support enhanced access to the legislative process by NGOs, the media and citizens. However, many complain that public consultation is only optional and not mandatory.
· Do you support the concept that public consultation should be mandatory for all legislation, including opportunities for regional groups, provided that, under certain circumstances the DPR publicly states that it is not able to hold public consultations?
- Increase Opportunities of Voting in the DPR
The decision-making through voting is already accepted in the DPR. However, in reality, the decision-making in the DPR is mostly based on consensus which only represents the position of political parties. As the election system (including the legislative election) changed and the DPR will be truly the representative of the people, voting can be an instrument to represent the position of individual members rather than political parties.
?P: In your partys opinion, after the election 2004, should the decision-making at the DPR based on voting rather than consensus? Why?
· Achieving consensus in political decision-making is an ideal goal, however, it is not always practical. While there are rare occasions where the DPR does cast votes, many feel that the infrequency of voting makes it difficult to understand the dynamics of the decision-making process.
· Consensus among all political forces in a legislature is often impossible, due to the complex nature of problems and different political interests
· The notion of party discipline is common in many countries, whereby the decision of the leadership of a fraction must be supported by the fraction members. However, virtually all of these systems require members to state their support for the position in a formal, transparent voting process that is recorded and made public. Indonesians deserve the same.
· This will enable legislators to be personally accountable for the decisions they make but also enable the public to see who is present when decisions are ratified. This can help improve attendance.
· Regardless of how decisions are made, the public must know the position of the individuals that represent them. Consensus does not always inform us of who made the decision and who approved of it.
· A modern, efficient and safe voting mechanism will be necessary to implement this.
· Do you support new provisions whereby a public, transparent vote will be necessary in all DPR bodies or plenary sessions to ratify decisions reached by consensus among fractions?
· Do you support the development of a new efficient, secure and transparent voting mechanism to implement ratification votes and regular votes?
- Official Transcript of the DPR
In virtually all democratic legislatures, an official transcript is made available publicly immediately after each meeting, proceeding and decision taken. This permanent, public and official record serves as a valuable reference tool for the public, the media and legislators themselves. It is essential for ensuring transparency and confidence in the democratic system. However, official transcription requires the commitment of substantial financial resources and a commitment to ensure that it is always done without exception.
?P: Does your party support providing sufficient resources for the preparation and publication of official transcripts of all DPR meetings, proceedings and decision-making processes, except for in-camera proceedings, as stipulated in the Standing Orders?
- Establishment of a special DPR Institutional Reform Committee for Restructuring the DPR.
The DPR as an institution is organized and divided by functions that is so-called commissions. As a consequence, the MPs should devote their works and focus their responsibilities to different commissions. The MPs have less time to think how to improve the DPR as an institution. Also, as the society changed, the DPR should also respond accordingly.
?P: In your partys opinion, should the DPR establish a special committee that will be responsible for gathering ideas and options of developing the DPR (as an institution), so it can correspond to the changes in the society? Why?
· Although committees and bodies exist in the DPR with the power to undertake reforms, there is currently no body focusing neither exclusively on reform issues nor with a wide-ranging mandate to identify reform priorities. Most reform issues are often overlooked by existing DPR structures, which have more pressing priorities to address.
· Zimbabwe, Namibia and Malawi are examples where international assistance played a key role in helping legislators chart a new course for institutional reform. While individual committees and structures are responsible for standing order reform, structural reform and the operating budget, these committees have conflicting priorities, which keep them from focusing on reform of their own institution.
· Does your party support the creation of a new all party committee in the DPR, specifically mandated to recommend changes in the Standing Orders of the DPR and other relevant laws to help bring about comprehensive institutional change in the DPR?