04 September 2009

Flag, Language, Emblem, and Anthem -- Indonesian Laws and Regulations...

This is something that I wrote for somewhere else. The original can be found at http://en.hukumonline.com.

In order to ensure that the things that make Indonesians, well Indonesians, are protected from misuse and abuse, the government has enacted Law No. 24 of 2009 on The Flag, the Language, the National Emblem, and the National Anthem. The law is comprehensive and extends over 74 articles and 29 pages. Each of the substantive areas are covered in detail and set out what is and what is not permissible with each of the national symbols.

The law contains all the expected provisions with respect to the flag. Generally, there are prohibitions against abusing the flag, for example by burning it, and against misusing it, for example by exploiting it commercially. Similarly, the national anthem is not to be exploited commercially either.

Also, the national anthem is not to be rearranged to different music. However, the intent here seems to be if the rearrangement is intended to belittle the national anthem or to make fun of Indonesia. This is interesting as recently an Indonesian musician sang a version of the national anthem that had been arranged to a different tune although he maintained the original words. This caused a stir for a while, but it seems to have died down now.

On the language front it is clear that there is an intention to raise the profile of Indonesian to a level that sees Indonesian operating as an international language. This is to be done in a phased, systematic, and ongoing manner, and is to be coordinated by the relevant language agency. All further regulations with respect to this plan are to be in the form of government regulations.

Nevertheless, the law is also explicit in stating that the government may facilitate Indonesians in the learning of foreign languages. The condition here is that there is an element of increasing Indonesia’s international competitiveness with the learning of any foreign language.

Generally, all education institutions are to use Indonesian as a medium of instruction. However, there are exceptions to this rule. Primarily, these exceptions are for international schools or education facilities where there are foreign students enrolled. Foreign languages can be taught in Indonesian schools. However, it would seem that Indonesian would still play a significant part in how the foreign language material is to be delivered.

Similarly to the discussion on the Bill on Language, which is still bouncing around the parliament, all speeches and presentations in international forums, whether here or abroad, when delivered by Indonesian official, must be in Indonesian. This would not conceivably prevent an English translation being provided to those in attendance.

The law provides for criminal sanctions of up to five years imprisonment and fines of up to IDR 500 million.

The implementing regulations required to give force to this law must be enacted within two years of the law being enacted.

The law has been in force since 9 July 2009.


H. Nizam said...

Rob ..
I really admire your knowledge of our laws including specific ones like this one.

Rob Baiton said...


It is my job :D

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