Entrepreneur v. Labor 

By: Dr. Iman Sjahputra., SH., SpN., LL.M)*

In 2013, various cities in Indonesia, especially Jakarta, have been flooded with labors protesting for rises on their current minimum wages which considered insufficient. They asked for a hike from Rp. 2.2 million to Rp. 3.7 million per month, which they consider as the minimum amount for satisfying their primary needs. As a response, Dewan Pengupahan DKI Jakarta (Jakarta Remuneration Board) referred to their own calculation, that is Rp. 2.7 million per month for 2014 period. They hold to this calculation by stating that the minimum decent living cost for 2014 at Rp. 2,299,860.00, therefore, the minimum wage for 2014 should be 15-20 percent above the minimum decent living cost, or in other words, Rp. 2.7 million per month.

Some businessmen worry that if this demand came to a realization, they will not have a choice rather than to lay off a lot of their labors. Chief of Apindo (Association of Indonesian Businessmen), Sofyan Wanandi, hopes that government will not grant the protest, since the number of lay off until the first semester of 2013 has reached 200,000 labors. We certainly hope that there will be no more lay off, and the labors will have the ability to cover their needs in this massive inflation in Indonesia. However, we also have to put our attention to the businessmen since they are also the people who take part in upholding Indonesian economy.

This problem has been a classic dilemma in Indonesia. Therefore, it is our task to solve, or at least disentangle this problem. To the best of the author’s opinion, the key is entrepreneurship. Indonesia has a huge potential to build great economy due to its huge area and massive natural resources it contains, however, in fact, our economy is pretty unstable. Government has been trying to encourage the amount of entrepreneur in Indonesia, however, the effort has not shown any considerable progress.  Indonesian generation nowadays has not been trained to be a “seller” but only to be a “buyer.” In other words, Indonesians tend to be consumptive rather than productive. 

Indonesian government has to provide better approach in their capitalization aspect. Kredit Usaha Rakyat (People’s Business Credit) has not been carried out perfect enough to sufficiently support Indonesians to build their own businesses, which mostly caused by the defected distribution system.  Government also have to provide easier approach to tax payment, which nowadays, the income tax rate for middle and small business sectors remain as an impediment for labors  to switch to entrepreneurs. Ultimately, for being an entrepreneur, one has to spend some “stealth” payments to the intricate bureaucracy. Meanwhile, welcoming ASEAN Economic Community 2015, we will need a lot of new figures emerging, namely “technopreneur,” “ marketingpreneur,” and “logistricpreneur,” which will be very much needed in order to remain exist in the global competition, or else, we prefer to keep “enjoying” this “entrepreneur v. labor” dilemma which tends to be eternal.

* Author is an Advocate and domiciled in Jakarta