Markus Junianto Sihaloho
A special committee of the House of Representatives agreed on Monday to approve for passage a new bill to fight funding for terrorism-related activities.
Adang Daradjatun, the chairman of the special committee, said that all parties had approved of the bill in light of the importance of preventing terrorist activity by cutting off the funding for it.
“This issue is of concern to Indonesia and to the world because existing legislation, including on combatting terrorism and on money-laundering, fails to specifically address the matter of funding for terrorist activities,” he said.
“That’s why we require new legislation specifically for this.”
Adang, a former deputy chief of the National Police, said that while the legislative committee supported the spirit of the bill, it was adamant that the legislation should not be misused by authorities to arbitrarily block citizens’ bank accounts.
“The government understands this. So even though we approve of this bill as it stands, we have to ensure that in its implementation it does not violate human rights,” he said.
He added the bill explicitly required law enforcement agencies to obtain a court warrant before blocking an account. Another article in the bill obliges banks and other financial service operators to report any suspicious transactions to the Financial Transaction Reports and Analysis Center (PPATK), the government’s anti-money-laundering watchdog, which would then study the case before submitting it to law enforcers.
With the special committee’s approval, the bill can now go before a House plenary session for passage into law.
Amir Syamsuddin, the minister for justice and human rights, welcomed the committee’s move and said he hoped the bill would be passed at the next House plenary session. He added the bill would be key in helping law enforcement agencies anticipate and prevent terrorist activities.
“It will also strengthen our international cooperation to crack down on terrorism funding [from overseas],” he said.
Agus Martowardojo, the finance minister, previously said it was important that the legislation be passed as soon as possible, given that Indonesia was just one of two Group of 20 countries without legislation on tackling funding for terrorism.
Without such statutes, international institutions such as the Financial Action Task Force could label Indonesia a non-cooperative jurisdiction.
“It needs to be passed soon because the FATF will review Indonesia in 2013. We need to be able to say that Indonesia has a law to prevent funding for terrorists,” he said in December.
He warned that if Indonesia was deemed non-cooperative, “we will be on the same level as countries unworthy of international financial transactions,” which would hurt the country’s economy.