Commentary: Indonesia will struggle to stay the course on hiking fuel prices

Commentary: Indonesia will struggle to stay the course on hiking fuel prices

Unions in another coalition, known as Gebrak, also exhibited on Sep 13 and are planning a lot more protests. The leading marriage in this coalition associated with labour, students plus civil society groups is the Congress associated with Indonesian Trade Marriage Alliances (KASBI), that is not affiliated with the particular Labour Party.

The Gebrak alliance, which includes various other smaller unions as well as student and human rights groups, is a significant actor within civil society protests against government insurance policies such as the Jobs Creation (Omnibus) Law , specially in Jakarta.

Upon Sep 13, they called for, among other things, the cancellation of the gas price increases, the repeal of the Omnibus Law and turned down the revisions suggested to the new Criminal Code.


There have been general public protests about increasing fuel prices almost every time they have been produced, including during the Yudhohyono government. This time, nevertheless , the opposition arrayed against the government at the issue has more politics buckshot. The ongoing demonstrations number up to 10 in Jakarta on a single day.

This time actors in the mainstream, such as the Demokrat Party, the PKS and the Labour Party, are also articulating oppositional rhetoric, however opportunistic that may be. There is also the potential for serious disruption associated with public transportation through presentations by ride-hailing drivers, who now quantity around 3 million.

The government hopes to dampen the particular unrest. It has guaranteed cash payments associated with 600, 000 rupiah to low-income residents. More tellingly, the government backtracked almost instantly when on April 13, it announced that rationing of Pertalite will be delayed while the government “makes studies”. The Minister for Labour Affairs has additionally called for wages to become increased.

But it will be a tall order for the govt to ride through the current storm, particularly if civil society demonstrations continue while some mainstream actors sustain their own opposition rhetoric. With inflation rising, more political unrest will ensue, which will in turn destabilise preparations for the 2024 elections.

Granted, the current unrest remains fragmented and without political leadership. When left uncontrolled, the government will have its hands full trying to bring the political temperature straight down.

Max Lane is Going to Senior Fellow in the ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute. This commentary first appeared on the ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute’s blog, Fulcrum.