October 17, 2019 Print

From left to right, Adinda Tenriangke Muchtar, Ahmad Yani, Agus Syatno, Muhammad Rifki Fadilah.

The Indonesian Institute, Center for Public Policy Research (TII) an Atlas Network partner working out of Jakarta, Indonesia, held a public discussion on August 6th, 2019 as part of “The Indonesian Forum” (TIF). TIF was designed as a way for TII to contribute to the policy process by creating an avenue for safe and honest discussion between both sides of various issues while simultaneously creating an opportunity to talk about individual freedom and human flourishing. To that end, the forums are opened by a discussion between government officials, who tend to favor regulations, and TII’s own pro-market experts. 

The topic of August 6th TIF was “Questioning the Regulation on Online Transport”.

The upsurge in online transport, caused by multinational corporations such as Amazon, has raised questions in Indonesia about the sorts of responsibilities the government has to pass certain regulations. 

Invited to the discussion were Ahmad Yani, Director of Land and Multimode Transportation, from the Ministry of Transportation and Agus Sujatno, Representative from the Indonesian Consumers Foundation.

TII was represented by Muhammad Rifki Fadilah, Researcher Of Economic Affairs, who took a cautious stance with regards to regulation. Rifki’s responsibility was to present the free-market position in the debate.

Rifki argued that a tariff, which the government was considering at the time, would distort the market mechanisms of pricing, and reduce competitiveness, as well as harm the very drivers it was designed to protect. Online transportation, and e-commerce more generally, have reduced the costs of consumers and saved them a lot of time. 

Any tariff would increase the costs for consumers as well, and push them to consider other alternatives. In this way, tariffs would not help the drivers and protect them, as the intention was, but instead, lose them their jobs. 

As a moderator, Tenriangke Muchtar (Executive Director of TII) helped ease the audience and the other speakers into the debate by providing the context and the facts regarding free-market policies. This allowed the audience to make their own judgements, and not necessarily be swayed by any authority figure.

The TIF initiative is creating an open and inclusive space for discussion on Indonesian policy where free-market arguments can be heard.