The dilemma of Indonesia’s coast guard

Multiple agencies confusing things.

The dilemma of Indonesia’s coast guard

Siswanto Rusdi

Law No. 32/2014 on maritime affairs was deliberated in the House of Representatives for more than two years and was passed days before the end of the 2009-2014 term. It is the “umbrella law” of the maritime realm.

A problem arises in chapter 58, which stipulates the establishment of the Maritime Security Board (Bakamla). Earlier, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo set up the body by issuing Presidential Regulation No. 178/2014 and officially introduced it in a Hari Nusantara (Archipelago Day) ceremony on Dec. 13, 2014.

However, a presidential regulation is not the proper basis for the purpose. Instead, the government should issue a Government Regulation (PP). Sources said a PP is being prepared by the Office of the Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister. Bakamla will carry out coast guard tasks like law enforcement at sea, maritime search and rescue operations and others.

Long before Bakamla existed, the government was mandated to establish the Indonesian coast guard by Law No. 17/2008 on shipping. The Transportation Ministry, as the leading ministry in respect of the law, tried to set it up but it was hampered by conflicting interests among agencies with authority at sea.

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