TIME.CO, Jakarta – Approaching Election 2024, the Constitutional Court (MK) allows election participants to campaign in government and educational facilities such as schools and campuses as long as they do not use campaign attributes. This is the sentence of the Constitutional Court number 65/PUU-XXI/2023 which was read on Tuesday 15 August 2023.
The Federation of Indonesian Teachers Union (FSGI) regrets this decision. They argue that the place of education should be a neutral space for the public interest.
“Although all this time, educational venues and government facilities have become neutral spaces for public interest, so it is prohibited to use educational venues and government facilities as campaign venues during the general election,” the president said of the FSGI Expert Council, Retno Listyarti, in a press release on Monday, August 21, 2023.
Besides that, FSGI Secretary General Heru Purnomo also discussed the technical aspect and the potential impact of the campaign on the students. “Technically, it will also be difficult for schools when the institution is used as a campaign site while the learning process is ongoing. This also has the potential to endanger the safety of students afterwards,” Heru said.
FSGI Reasons to regret the verdict
There are several reasons why FSGI regret this decision. The first thing that became their concern was the kindergarten and junior high school students who were not old enough to vote during the elections.
In fact, even at the SMA/SMK level, not everyone is 17 and has the right to vote; they are first-time voters who are the target of many candidates during elections. This raises the question of whether campaigns can be implemented within the education unit environment.
Furthermore, the FSGI said that the ban on the use of places of worship, places of education and government facilities for electoral purposes must be absolutely unconditional. Thus, if the Constitutional Court holds that places of worship are not suitable for campaign purposes, the same should be said for educational places and government facilities.
According to FSGI, training places can in fact be used as places to study political science. Government facilities can also be used for political intelligence of the nation. However, not for the sake of certain electoral policies.
Meanwhile, the “no electoral attributes” requirement in the Constitutional Court decision does not eliminate the relationship between power and money. This is because these two things can be misused by educational institutions to commercialize the political scene in educational institutions.
“This condition is clearly dangerous for the neutrality of educational institutions in the future. Especially if the activist is the head of the territory, the balance of power exists and school facilities can also be used without spending any money. If you use an air-conditioned room, the electricity burden will become a burden on the school,” Retno said.
The decision of the Constitutional Court is final and binding and cannot be subject to modification by legal action. Therefore, FSGI calls on the General Election Commission (KPU) to immediately review the campaign regulations. They made several recommendations.
Firstly, FSGI encourages the role of the Central and Regional Election Supervision Board (Bawaslu) to supervise the implementation of campaigns in educational institutions, especially state schools. This is due to the existence of power relations: public schools cannot in any way refuse an order from the incumbent regional head through the head of the local education bureau to use educational institutions as campaign locations.
Secondly, the FSGI encouraged the KPU to revise the campaign rules after the decision of the Constitutional Court, specifying the campaign rules in educational institutions. For example, campaigns are allowed at any level of education and can be used at any time to continue learning activities.
Thirdly, FSGI encourages the government to ensure the safety of school residents from law enforcement during the campaign, with strict assurance requirements imposed by the authorities.
FSGI said that when campaign activities take place in schools, law enforcement agencies are required to guarantee 200 to 350 students per school at the SMA/SMK level. It is said that this number of student novice voters will not make it difficult for the police and military district command (Koramil) to maintain security.
“If the government can ensure that there are major benefits of political education for first-time voters, and the risk of loss can be minimized by ensuring security from law enforcement, then please campaign in schools with strict guarantee requirements imposed by the authorities, said the head of the study group FSGI law, Guntur Ismail.
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