Indonesia is Putting Business over the Environment


Hannah Stai, News Editor

Last week, Indonesia’s parliament passed a controversial law regarding changes to over 70 laws across the labor, business, and environmental sectors. This job creation law was intended to simplify Indonesia’s complex web of regulations to make it easier for Indonesian companies to do business. However, many environmentalists say this law will have a disastrous impact on the country’s forests and biodiversity. 

Indonesian President Joko Widodo promised the law will help boost the country’s economy, which has been hit rather hard by the rise and spread of COVID-19.

However, citizens of Indonesia do not see it in this same light. In recent days, thousands of people have taken to the capital, Jakarta, in a three-day national strike to show disapproval of the new law. Labor unions, human rights groups, and environmentalists alike have taken part in the demonstrations, with many openly expressing their disdain.

Rights group Amnesty International has called the law “catastrophic” and the executive director, Usman Hamid, commented that the law will “harm workers’ wallets, job security, and their human rights as a whole.”

As the law loosens environmental protections, environmentalists worry it could lead to mass deforestation, resulting in the endangerment or extinction of many species in the country, such as clouded leopards, elephants, or orangutans.