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Conscription for Indonesia?

A debate about conscription also started in Indonesia - but there conscription is to be introduced, not abolished. The proposed revision to the Reserve Forces Act (RUU Komponen Cadangan), put forward by the Department of Defence and which will go

before the parliament in early 2008, contains clauses that will make Army training or service compulsory (wajib militer, wamil) for all citizens aged 18-45.

Conscription is enshrined in the 1945 Constitution. According to art. 179: "The Federal Law enacts regulations on the right and duty of all able citizens to assist in the maintenance of the independence of the Republic (...) and in the defence of the territory. The Federal Law regulates the exercise of this right and duty and determines the exceptions thereof." Art. 180, par.1 reads: "The armed forces of the republic (...) are entrusted with the protection of the interests of the Republic. (...) they shall consist of volunteers and conscripts. 2. The Federal Law stipulates compulsory service in the armed forces."

Legislation providing for conscription has existed ever since the achievement of independence in 1948. The present legal basis of conscription is laid down in the 1988 Law on Conditions of Military Service, according to which Indonesians may be conscripted into the regular armed forces for two years and into the reserve forces for five years.

Conscription has, however, never been enforced in general apart from certain forms of selective conscription (see: military service). Voluntary applications are usually sufficient to obtain the requisite number of recruits, as in Indonesia a military career is widely regarded as a step on the social ladder.

Sources: Military Conscription, Indonesia Matters, 6 November 2007, Refusing to bear arms, country report 1998