Indonesia's Law on Public Services: Changing State-Society Relations or Continuing Politics as Usual?
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Institutional reforms introduced after the collapse of the New Order regime have brought state–society relations in Indonesia under increased scrutiny. This paper uses an evaluation of Law 25/2009 on Public Services as a means to assess whether the new political setting has increased the leverage of the citizenry over the state. Adopted in July 2009, the law introduced a range of regulations for public service providers. It also expanded the responsibilities of the Ombudsman's office and called for the establishment of citizen committees to monitor public service delivery. However, the legal quality of the law is poor and the broader institutional and political environment is not conducive to its enforcement. Overall, the law aims beyond the capacity of the current political and legal system. Ironically, in order for society to gain greater leverage in politics, state capacity must increase as well.