Jakarta– The Indonesian government will submit a draft law on governing Aceh province to parliament next month, so a bill may be passed before a deadline set by a landmark truce.
Under the terms of the Aug 15 peace agreement between Jakartaand the Free Aceh movement (GAM), a set of laws must be in place by March 31 that would grant internal governing rights to Aceh on most of its affairs and allows former rebels to form their own political parties.
The draft law has been much debated and according to Home Ministry official Sapnikmat, they have proposed at least five revisions. He is nevertheless optimistic and added that, “the final draft will be ready by the end of the month for vetting by the State Secretary’s Office and once this is done, the draft will be submitted to parliament next month”.
Despite demands from Acehneses groups to partition the territory, the draft laws do not provide the right for Aceh to be a fully independent entity seceded fromIndonesia. It is however unclear if Aceh will be given freedom to include the syariah law in its legal system and to set its own bank interest rates.
In addition to its political provisions, the Finnish mediated peace deal requires GAM to give up 840 functional weapons to monitors by the year-end through 4 phases, three of which have passed without major glitches.
Progress is believed to be going smoothly. “We have to be optimistic because GAM and the government of Indonesiahave shown huge commitment to the peace process so far” said the spokeswoman of Aceh Monitoring Mission (AMM), Faye Belnis.
It is expected that the Indonesian military would begin its final withdrawal this week and planned to finish on Dec 29.
* Jakartaset to submit draft laws on Aceh (The Straits Times, Dec 16)
* Former Aceh rebels in last weapons handover phase (The Acheh Times, 15 Dec)