21 March 2017:
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has changed his mind on the controversial tobacco bill and has signed a presidential letter permitting the House of Representatives to begin deliberations on the bill.
Previously, the President opted to kill the bill.
The President’s office recently sent the letter to the House, State Secretariat Pratikno said on Tuesday.
Jokowi was lauded by pro-health activists for rejecting the deliberation of the bill last week.
The presidential letter gives the green light for both the government and legislators to deliberate on the bill, which seeks to triple cigarette production to 524 billion by 2020.
“[The President] has assigned related ministers to discuss the bill [with the House] including the health minister and the trade minister,” Pratikno told journalists at the State Palace.
On March 15, Cabinet Secretary Pramono Anung said the President would not issue a letter and would send Trade Minister Enggartiasto Enggar Lukita and State Secretariat Pratikno to inform the House of the government’s stance on the bill.
However, after Pratikno and Enggartriasto met with House leaders on March 19, Jokowi changed his mind about the bill and sent the letter on March 20.