July 28, 2020 | Regulatory Updates

The long-awaited implementing regulation of Law No 24 of 2009 regarding Flag, Language, Emblems and National Anthems (“Law No 24/2009”) has been signed by the President on 30 September 2019, namely Presidential Regulation No. 63 of 2019 on the Use Of Indonesian Language (“PR No. 63/2019”). Below is a summary of the important provisions of the regulation.

PR No. 63/2019 imposes obligatory use of Indonesian language in any and all official documents and/or activities e.g:

a. Laws and regulations;

b. Official state documents;

c. Speeches, either in national or international forums, by the President, Vice President or other Government Officials both within and also outside of the territory of Republic of Indonesia.

The Government Officials as stipulated by PR No. 63/2019 ranges from chairman/vice-chairman and/or members of the People’s Consultative Assembly of Republic of Indonesia (Majelis Permusyawaratan Rakyat Republik Indonesia) all the way up to regional government officials as well as other government officials as stipulated further by the regulation;

d. Official visits from other countries’ government officials along with representatives of international organizations; as well as

e. Public administration services.

Aside from the above, the use of Indonesian language has also now been made mandatory in all educational institutions as the medium of teaching in conjunction with educational publications.

Interestingly, apart from the “formal-form” of the Indonesian language, “local languages” can also be used as an acceptable medium of communication in elementary schools, Islamic elementary schools or the like.

Foreign languages may be used in complementary to support the students’ skills in developing their ability to speak in other languages. However, for within educational institutions that were specifically established to educate foreign students in Indonesia, the use of Indonesian language is not mandatory but may instead be used in complementary to the foreign language of choice within the institution; Although, it should be noted that even for these “foreign students’ educational institutions”, Indonesian languages still must be used in the teaching of subjects such as language, religion or civic studies.

As mentioned previously, PR No. 63/2019 also regulates the use of Indonesian language in a wide range of activities, for instance, in the naming of: geographical places of significance, buildings or constructions, street, apartments, office buildings, trademarks, business entities, educational institutions, organizations owned or established by Indonesians or Indonesian legal entities.

There are however several exceptions to the sole usage of Indonesian language e.g the use of local language as naming medium and foreign language for foreign licensed trademarks.

PR No. 63/2019 also regulates, in Article 26, the use Indonesian language in memorandum of understanding (“memo”) or agreement, as what has been regulated before in Article 31 of Law No. 24 /2019, if the memo or agreement involves state institution, government institution of Republic of Indonesia, Indonesian private entities or Indonesian citizens. memorandum of understanding or agreement as meant by the foregoing which involves foreign party shall also be made in writing using the language of the concerned foreign party and/or English. PR No. 63/2019 implies that the Indonesian language shall be the primary language to be translated into English or into other foreign languages. However, the same article does not prevent the parties to choose either Indonesian language or foreign language as the prevailing language in the memo or agreement.