Promoting public health: Can fiscal policy play a role?
January-March 2015

And we see the tendency for malnutrition, and that there are many opportunities for the food and beverage industry to reduce malnutrition and to handle the overnutrition problem. We need to do this together, government and industry.

If we look at the excise tax issue in the law (No. 39/2007, Clause 2) it states that particular goods to be levied with excise taxes need to have their consumption controlled and their distribution supervised, etc. Of course, if we want to make proper public policy, it has to be based on research or proper data. Without it, I am afraid that regulations will be wasted. To be honest, in Indonesia many regulations are produced that cannot be implemented; there is no enforcement, there are just so many.

Recently, so many laws have been passed. One of them is the Halal Law, for instance. This cannot be completely implemented because it collides with at least two other laws. Why is it set to be law? Because Indonesia is productive in producing regulations but is not productive in implementation. This is very important. Regulations and laws should be based on scientific evidence. If not, they will burden the consumer and boomerang on Indonesia.

Let us see one of the cases. In Malaysia, junk food was blamed for causing obesity and diabetes, etc. But research showed that the main cause of diabetes in Malaysia is rice, not junk food. But junk food was blamed, maybe because it originates from a superpower country.

Adhi Lukman

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