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By: Hafez Gumay – Advocacy Manager, Koalisi Seni

April 27, 2021, exactly four years have passed since the enactment of the Law on Cultural Advancement. However, until now the government has not been able to carry out all of its mandates.

The monitoring and evaluation performed by Koalisi Seni towards two years of the implementation of the Law on Cultural Advancement in 2019 have literally shown various problems that must be addressed immediately so that the implementation of such regulation can be optimal. However, there has been no serious follow-up by the government.

There are three main problems with the implementation of the Law on the Cultural Advancement that must be resolved immediately: (1) the preparation of implementing regulations that should be completed by two years after the law is enacted; (2) ratification of the Cultural Strategy which has been submitted to President Joko Widodo since 2018; and (3) the establishment of the Cultural Trust Fund/Dana Perwalian Kebudayaan.

Article 60 of the Law on the Cultural Advancement mandates that the preparation of implementing regulations concerning 17 matters must be completed no later than two years after the regulation was enacted. So far, the government has only completed 3 of them, which are stated in Presidential Regulation Number 65 of 2018 on the Procedures for Compiling Regional Cultural White Papers and Cultural Strategies.

In fact, the Ministry of Education and Culture (Kemendikbud) has begun to provide a Draft Government Regulation (RPP) on the Implementing Regulations for the Law on the Cultural Advancement, which regulates the remaining 14 matters, since the end of 2018. However, until now the government has not completed the process of harmonization of the text because the Minister of Finance Sri Mulyani has not given her initial approval. This is because the Minister of Finance wants a provision that regulates the recording of Cultural Advancement Objects as State Property. In fact, this delegation is not regulated in the Law on the Cultural Advancement. In addition, there is still a tug of war on setting incentives for cultural promotion activities.

Another obligation that has not been fulfilled by the government is the stipulation of the 2020-2040 Cultural Strategy. Article 13 paragraph (6) of the Law on the Cultural Advancement regulates that such strategy must be set by the President.

After the consolidation process of more than 300 Regional Cultural White Papers at the district/municipality and provincial levels as well as inputs from dozens of professional associations in the field of culture, the Cultural Strategy was successfully compiled and submitted to the President at the 2018 Indonesian Cultural Congress/Kongres Kebudayaan Indonesia (KKI).

However, their efforts were in vain. Until now, the President has not ratified the Cultural Strategy. As a result, the Cultural Strategy text has no legal force and cannot be used as the basis for the preparation of the Master Plan for the Cultural Advancement (RIPK). In fact, the 2020-2040 RIPK draft text has been prepared by the Ministry of Education and Culture, but the discussion has not been continued because it is waiting for the determination of the Cultural Strategy.

The formation of the Cultural Trust Fund (DPK), mandated by Article 49 paragraph (1) of the Law on the Cultural Advancement, is also adrift. After a meeting with cultural stakeholders after the 2018 KKI, the President stated that he would allocate a budget of IDR 5 trillion as initial capital for the formation of DPK. Vice President Ma’ruf Amin reiterated this promise during a debate ahead of the 2019 presidential election.

In fact, the 2020 State Budget only lists Rp. 1 trillion for DPK. Meanwhile, the Research Endowment Fund and the Higher Education Endowment Fund each received Rp5 trillion. The following year, the 2021 State Budget only lists Rp. 2 trillion for DPK, which is still far from the promised budget amount. This is a sign that the government has not considered culture important enough.

Problems related to DPK are not only about the initial capital being trimmed. Its management agency has not yet been established either. Since 2019, the Directorate General of Culture of the Ministry of Education and Culture has initiated the formation of the Public Service Agency/Badan Layanan Umum (BLU) managing DPK, but it is still deadlocked because it has not been approved by the Directorate General of State Treasury of the Ministry of Finance.

Reflecting on these three problems, it can be concluded that the root cause of the slow implementation of the Law on Cultural Advancement is bureaucratic chaos between ministries. In addition, the silo mentality and inter-ministerial tug-of-war also become the obstacles. The process of drafting regulations and establishing institutions can suddenly stop just because there are disagreements between officials.

This chaos shows that during the four years that Law on Cultural Advancement has been in effect, President Joko Widodo has not been able to advance the culture which he himself calls the DNA of the Indonesian nation.

So, what should the government do to overcome the problem of implementing the Law on Cultural Advancement?

First, President Joko Widodo must without hesitation order his staff to immediately complete the preparation of the RPP on the Implementation of the Law on the Cultural Advancement. This means not only the Ministry of Education and Culture as the implementing ministry for cultural affairs but also all other ministries and institutions involved in drafting regulations derived from the Law on the Cultural Advancement, from the Coordinating Ministry for Human Development and Culture, the Ministry of Law and Human Rights, the Ministry of Finance, to the State Secretariat.

Second, President Joko Widodo without hesitation must immediately stipulate the Cultural Strategy that has been handed over to him. After signing the Cultural Strategy, the President must also immediately order his staff to prepare the Master Plan for the Cultural Advancement and include it in the national development planning document.

Third, President Joko Widodo must immediately complete the establishment of the DPK management agency. Without the management agency, the DPK budget in the State Budget (APBN) is useless because it cannot be distributed to the people who have the Cultural Advancement initiative. In addition, the President must also increase the DPK budget to at least IDR 5 trillion, according to the promise he made in 2018.

Come what may, promoting culture is a constitutional mandate that must be fulfilled by the state. If President Joko Widodo and his staff continue to postpone their homework, the advancement of culture will remain a promise, a wishful thinking.

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