AmCham Update
AmCham Update #89
Data Privacy Law, Omnibus Agreed, Jokowi Defends COVID Record, Rising Positivity
Oct 05, 2020 | AmCham Indonesia


AmCham Discusses Data Privacy Law with DPR

AmCham Indonesia held a meeting with experts to discuss the Indonesian Personal Data Protection Bill (PDP Bill) this morning, Oct 5. The meeting aimed to gain insights into the shaping of the Bill and provide input on similar regulations in other countries.

At the center of the discussion was Muhammad Farhan, member of House of Representatives (DPR) Commission I and longtime media personality; Dr Awaluddin Marwan, a lecturer from Bhayangkara University; and Evangelos Razis, Director of International Digital Economic Policy at the US Chamber of Commerce. AmCham Managing Director A Lin Neumann moderated.

Farhan began with the latest updates on the Bill in the DPR. He said things were going well before COVID-19 struck, but now there is a possibility of the Bill being delayed. Major issues for the DPR include the definition of general and specific personal data, usage of aggregate data and how the Bill can protect Indonesian citizens’ data while opening opportunities for investment in the digital economy.

Marwan gave his perspective as an academic on what a legally sound personal data protection regulation should look like. He highlighted four points of concern: absence of personal data protection principles in guiding the Bill, no clear data protection authority outlined, metrics for effective enforcement and the need to remove criminal sanctions from the Bill to avoid overlaps with other criminal laws.

Razis rounded up the discussion by emphasizing the importance of creating a data protection environment that builds trust (by means of providing protection) but also allows businesses to operate and use data to better develop the economy. He also provided references and policies from other regions, such as the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the APEC Privacy Framework, to provide guidelines in the discussion of the Bill’s major points, including data location and cross-border data transfer.

The presentations were followed by a sharing session with the attendees. Participants were very eager to obtain clarification regarding the content and process of the Bill, as well as provide suggestions regarding regional data protection frameworks, cross-border data transfer, the Data Protection Authority and Officers (DPA/DPO) and the implementation of the regulation in the e-commerce and healthcare industries.

Closing the meeting, Farhan thanked everyone who participated and promised to channel their concerns to the Commission, while Neumann also noted how discussions revolving around data protection have always been a complex yet fragile issue, and expressed hopes for continued dialogue.

Job Creation Bill Agreed: Press Release

The Indonesian government and the House of Representatives (DPR) have reached agreement on the Omnibus Job Creation Bill, according to a press release issued by the office of the Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs on Oct 3.

The Bill will be brought to a Plenary Meeting for approval. Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Airlangga Hartarto said he is certain it will encourage national economic recovery, regulatory reform and de-bureaucratization.

Roadblocks that have hindered the opportunities to increase investment and open job opportunities include the complex and lengthy business licensing process, onerous investment requirements, difficult land acquisition and the inadequate empowerment of small businesses and cooperatives.

The Bill will provide many benefits, including easy requirements and low costs so there is legal certainty for micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) through the Online Single Submission (OSS) system. Cooperatives are also provided with a strong legal basis for implementing sharia business principles, as well as facilitating the use of technology. It will provide certainty and acceleration for the Halal Certification process as well as expanding the Halal Inspection Agency’s scope, which can now be carried out by Islamic organizations and state universities.

Community plantations in forest areas will gain certainty on the utilization of land, and fishermen will have a regulated and simplified business licensing process for fishing boats, and workers will receive increased protection and be guaranteed severance pay.

It will also provide acceleration for the construction of low-income communities, as well as agrarian reform and land redistribution by the Land Bank. It ensures termination of employment (PHK), and maternity and menstrual leave will not be eliminated and will follow the requirements regulated in the current Labor Law.

It will provide ease and certainty in obtaining business licenses as well as an increase in business competitiveness and productivity through the provision of rights, standard implementation and an increase in worker protection. Business players will also receive fairly strong legal protection, fiscal incentives, and convenience for investment services in addition to a wider field of business activities for investment concerning the Investment Priority List established by the government. There will be more legal protection for businesses, where administrative violations will be penalized with administrative sanctions, and violations of health, safety, security, and environment (K3L) will be criminalized.

The Bill does not appear to offer the kind of sweeping incentives for foreign investment it once promised. 


Jokowi Defends Record on COVID

President Joko Widodo over the weekend defended his record on fighting COVID-19, amid criticism he is placing the economy before public health.

The video statement late on Oct 3, came as Indonesia’s cases climbed to 299,506. Its death toll of 11,055 is among the highest in Asia.

The government's handling of the pandemic has been criticized by public health experts for prioritizing economic over public health concerns. The health ministry has drawn fire from some over claims there is insufficient spending on the pandemic, not enough protection for health workers and high prices for private coronavirus tests.

“I can say that the COVID handling in Indonesia has not been bad, indeed it has been quite good,” the president said in a statement on YouTube, arguing the country's total cases and death toll are lower than countries with comparably large populations.

“Prioritizing health matters does not mean we are sacrificing the economy, because sacrificing the economy is equal to sacrificing the lives of tens of millions of people,” he said.

“Overcoming the pandemic is difficult, it requires hard work together, but I'm sure we can do it,” he said. "The most important thing in this situation is we should not make polemics and there should be no commotion.”

Related link:

Indonesia has Second Highest Positivity Rate in Asia

Indonesia has the second-highest COVID-19 positivity rate in Asia at 16.61 percent, as of Oct 3, according to the “Our World in Data,” a scientific publication. The positivity rate measures the number of positive cases per 1,000 persons tested. According to data from, since large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) were re-imposed on Sept 14, Indonesia’s positivity rate has been in the range of 14 percent to 16.47 percent, and has never dropped below 10 percent.

The government has said the number of people tested in Indonesia is close to the World Health Organization (WHO) standard of 1,000 tests per one million people per week. However, epidemiologist and pandemic expert from Australia's Griffith University, Dicky Budiman, said the government should also pay attention to the positivity rate, which is far above the 5 percent threshold set by the WHO.

Related link:

AmCham Cares: GE Indonesia

GE Indonesia, as part of a GE global initiative, has donated 150,000 medical masks to COVID-19 referral hospitals in Greater Jakarta, where most cases are concentrated. 

GE Indonesia also has extended its appreciation to Habitat for Humanity, which facilitated the delivery and successfully completed this humanitarian mission despite many challenges.

Jokowi Names 2 New Deputy Ministers to Cabinet

President Joko Widodo has added two deputy ministers to his Onward Indonesia Cabinet. The deputies have been assigned to Minister of Manpower Ida Fauziyah and Minister of Cooperatives and Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises Teten Masduki.

The plan was signed by the President on Sept 23 through Presidential Decree Number 95.

Related link:


Support Independent Journalism: Subscribe to The Jakarta Post

In these difficult times, our hometown English language newspaper, The Jakarta Post, is more important than ever. Given the difficulties of physical circulation and the economic slump, the Post needs to boost its online subscribers – a goal we heartily support at AmCham Indonesia. Quality English language news is vital for our businesses, our home offices and the flow of information out of Indonesia. It is for this reason, that we are urging all of our members and readers to subscribe to JP! Information is what will help get us through this crisis. Below is information about how to sign up.

JP Premium Digital Subscription Packages

Monthly subscription – Rp 50,000

Yearly subscription – Rp 600,000

We Still Need Your Support to Shelter the Front Line

AmCham Indonesia and Habitat for Humanity have joined forces in an initiative called Sheltering Those Who Care for Us, a program to provide temporary quarters in hotels for Indonesian medical workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our program has helped not only medical workers in Jakarta, but also Tangerang and Surabaya; we are now planning to expand to Sulawesi.

With the COVID-19 pandemic still spreading, medical workers are working a lot harder than before. In these difficult times, they often cannot go back home for fear of infecting family members or being rejected by their local communities. As a result, they are forced to sleep in hospitals without a proper bed, also increasing the possibility of getting infected.

By donating, we will increase the overall capability of Indonesia to treat COVID-19. Habitat will match individual hospitals with hotels on an as-needed basis.

Your support is needed more than ever.


Now is the Time to Join AmCham!

Now is the Time to Join AmCham!

We are continuing with a full slate of meetings, events and information offered to our community online. But we can only do this through the support of our members. If you are not yet an AmCham member, please join now!

AmCham Indonesia is open to all companies with an interest in US business relations and we have many non-American members. We are a community and we welcome you!

Reach us at [email protected] or click below!



AmCham Office and Events

AmCham Office and Events

The AmCham Office is on work from home status and all face-to-face meetings and events have been postponed. We are having a number of meetings online using the Zoom platform. You will be notified of virtual meetings as they are scheduled.




What is Your Company Doing on COVID-19?

Please let us know what measures your company may be taking in the form of donations and other assistance to help Indonesia during this time of confusion and concern. Contact [email protected] with your news. We would like to publicize the ways that our AmCham companies are pitching in.

Stay well

We urge you to send us press releases and other information that we can pass on to the broader AmCham community. If you have items of interest, please email material to [email protected]. Follow this link to information provided by the US Embassy

Stay safe, call a doctor if you have a high fever, cough, or difficulty breathing. Stay healthy above all else.

COVID Update is AmCham’s regular newsletter on developments related to the pandemic crisis in Indonesia. It is edited by AmCham Managing Director A Lin Neumann and written by the AmCham Staff. Paul L Goddard is the Managing Editor