Manila (Philippine Daily Inquirer/ANN) - Workers and the poor have rejected the Indonesian government's idea of gradually implementing social security programmes and to impose premiums for the services, saying the people have a right to basic social security protection for free.
They showed their anger in response to a statement from Coordinating People's Welfare Minister Agung Laksono that the government would launch the national healthcare programme in January 2014 and implement it gradually until 2019.
The minister also said either employers or workers would pay an aggregated 5 per cent contribution to the programme.
The government says it has set aside 25 trillion rupiah (US$2.6 billion)as its contribution to cover more than 96 million poor people as premium aid recipients.
The Action Committee for Social Security (KAJS) and an alliance of labour union confederations accused the government of a lack of seriousness in implementing the long-waited programmes.
They believe the government should abide by existing regulations. The law mandates the healthcare program's universal coverage and simultaneous implementation nationwide by January 2014.
"[With regard to the minister's statement,] the government would be in breach of Law No. 40/2004 on a national social security system. This could be enough for the House of Representatives and the People's Consultative Assembly to launch a no-confidence motion against the government and impeach the President," KAJS secretary-general Said Iqbal said in a press conference here Friday.
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and his administration violated the social security law when he declined to initiate the programmes in 2009, five years after the law was enacted in 2004.
But the President managed to avoid political impeachment after coalition parties rejected the idea.
Instead, the lawmakers enacted Law No. 24/2011 which mandates state-owned PT Askes to run the national healthcare programme and PT Jamsostek the four labour social security programmes from January 2014.
Secretary-general of the Indonesian Workers Organisation (OPSI) Timbul Siregar said the people, including workers, had no constitutional obligation to make contributions to the healthcare programme.
"The healthcare programme is a free basic healthcare service mandated by the Constitution and the national social security system law. The premium of the workers will be paid by their employers," he said referring to Jamsostek's healthcare programme for workers.
Timbul said the 25 trillion rupiah funds allocated in the 2013 state budget would not be enough to cover the poor and jobless people, including their children, whose number has reached 134 million.
"Besides, more and more workers will be included in the list of poor people when they lose their jobs thanks to rampant outsourcing and contract-based employment practice."
Said, also chairman of the Confederation of Indonesian Workers Union, lambasted the government which he said had never discussed the premiums with employers or workers.
"To win acceptability for the social security programme, the government must discuss the premium issue with the main stakeholders, including workers and employers," he said.
Chairman of the Confederation of Indonesian Prosperous labour Unions Mudhofir warned the government of the limited time available.
With only just over a year to go before implementation, necessary regulation and infrastructure (hospitals, health workers and specialists) were still not in place.