Indonesia - confusion regarding possible suspects regarding the missing clause from the health bill passed in September 2009..

Indonesian National Police
September 22, 2010 - - We reported back on October 14, 2009 that a section regulating tobacco as an addictive substance in the newly passed Health Law had been removed. (Indonesia - section on tobacco in health bill disappears...

The missing section was written as follow: ”Addictive substance as referred in section (1) includes tobacco; solid, liquid, and gas products that contain tobacco which are addictive and could harm its users and or their immediate surroundings.”

On October 16, 2010 Kartono Muhammad, a health expert with the Coalition Against Corruption on Health Law, said, “It is already known who were involved and there are evidence for that.” (Indonesia - missing tobacco regulation in approved Health Law..)

In March 2010 The Coalition Against Corruption of the Anti-Tobacco Clause said that the three House of Representatives (DPR) lawmakers, before ending their tenure last year, had ordered that the clause designating tobacco as an addictive substance be excised. “What we have are hard evidences and not just mere indications. We have a document signed by those people ordering the State Secretariat to ‘mutilate’ the clause,” said Kartono Muhammad, a member of the coalition, also known as Kakar.

“We demand justice and that the police investigate this case. What is the motive to ‘delete’ a clause from the health bill. This is a systematic crime and should not happen again in the future,” he said. (Indonesia - persons accused of eliminating clause designating tobacco as addictive..)

On Monday, September 20, 2010 - The National Police again summoned two Health Ministry officials for more questioning over the alleged deliberate omission from the 2009 health bill of a clause addressing the dangers of tobacco.

Hakim Sorimuda Pohan, a former lawmaker from the Democratic Party now working with the Coalition Against Corruption of the Anti-Tobacco Clause (Kakar), said the National Police had told him that three legislators involved in the case had been named suspects. He named them as committee chairwoman Ribka Tjiptaning, from the opposition Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) and commission members Mariani Baramuli and Asiah Salekan, from the Golkar Party.

Brig. Gen. Saut Usman Nasution, the head of transnational crimes, no one had been named as a suspect as of yet, he said. “We have to be careful to determine if there was any violation of the law and who should be responsible,” Saut said. But Saut has denied the three have been named suspects. While the committee deliberating the bill dismissed the omission as a “technical error,” critics allege the clause was deliberately struck off to appease the powerful tobacco lobby.

Health Ministry spokesman Tritarayati said it was unlikely that the ministry officials were involved in the case because the final draft proposed by the ministry’s legal bureau had classified tobacco as an addictive substance. She said that the final draft was handed to the House in completed form and the ministry did not have any access to the draft after that. “We gave a draft bill to DPR and nothing was missing from it then,” Tritarayati said.

“After that the House of People's Representatives (DPR) handed the bill to the state secretary for it to be reported to the president. We no longer had access to the bill.” However, she said the ministry was ready to follow the legal process.

We will follow every single process.” Ribka who heads House Commission IX overseeing health affair, said on Tuesday that she was not a suspect and had never been called by the police over the matter. “The National Police have never summoned me for the tobacco law case,” she said.

Reference: Officials Called Over Vanishing Tobacco Warning, Farouk Arnaz, Dessy Sagita & Anita Rachman, Jakarta Globe, 9/21/2010.

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