On 30 September 2019, the President of the Republic of Indonesia finally issued the Presidential Regulation No. 63 of 2019 regarding the Use of the Indonesian Language (“PR 63/2019”) as the implementing regulations for the Law No. 24 of 2009 regarding the National Flag, Language, Coat of Arms and Anthem (“Law 24/2009”, often referred to as the Language Law). PR 63/2019 revokes the Presidential Regulation 16 of 2010 which mainly provides for the use of Indonesian language in official speeches by the president, vice president and state officials both at home and abroad.
The PR 63/2019 applies more comprehensive provisions than the previous regulation which only regulated the language used in official speeches of state officials. Article 26 of PR 63/2019 requires the Indonesian language to be utilized in all Memoranda of Understandings (“MoU”) and/or agreements which involve Indonesian state institutions, government agencies of the Republic of Indonesia, Indonesian private entities, and individuals as Indonesian citizens. If an MoU and/or agreement involve foreign parties, then the MoU or agreement could also be drawn up in the national language of the relevant foreign parties and/or in English. However, Article 26(4) of PR 63/2019 stipulates that the parties are free to choose the prevailing version of the document should inconsistencies be found between the Indonesian-language version and the foreign-language version.
In addition, Article 28 of PR 63/2019 requires that Indonesian language is used in official communications carried out within the working environments of both the Indonesian government and private sectors. This includes all verbal and written communications through both electronic and non-electronic media, which are undertaken between employees and institutions, as well as between institutions and the general public, and which relate to the duties and functions of the relevant institutions. Further, Article 29 of PR 63/2019 allows for the use of translators for any official communications which are undertaken within the working environments of both the Indonesian government and the private sectors which involve international organizations or institutions of foreign countries.
Furthermore, it is important to note that PR 63/2019 requires all non-Indonesian names and the use of traditional language or foreign language to be written in the latin alphabet, including names of buildings, apartments or residences, offices and trading complexes that are built or owned by Indonesian citizens or Indonesian legal entities. However, if the buildings have historical, cultural, customary, and/or religious values, they may use traditional language or foreign languages which must be written in the latin alphabet.
PR 63/2019 does not provide for clear sanctions for any violations. However, there remains a risk that a contract executed only in foreign language may be held void for lack of an Indonesian translation. Therefore, in the event a contract (agreement and/or MoU) involving Indonesian party, and the parties would like to have the contract in a foreign language, then the contract should be made in billingual version, i.e., in Indonesian language and the national language of the relevant foreign party or in English.
This client alert is intended to provide an overview only, thus, cannot be deemed as a legal advice. If you need a more detailed discussion and/or advice, please do not hesitate to contact us.
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