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Indonesian diaspora welcomes dual citizenship plans but questions ‘political will’ to implement

Members of the Indonesian diaspora have welcomed an announcement from a high-ranking government official that plans to allow for dual citizenship are in the works, but they are wary of whether there is enough political will to make it happen.

“We welcome the discourse [to allow] dual citizenship, because in the end, the diaspora and children of mixed marriages also benefit from it, as well as the country,” Enggi Holt, an Indonesian who lives in Britain, told This Week in Asia.

“But we also have to see how far the government dares to change the paradigm, from single citizenship to dual citizenship, because the costs will be very high. [An amendment to the law] is a political process between the government and the legislature, so the sticking point is, do they have the political will or is it just a political campaign? If it’s a political campaign, it’s not worth digging further.”

Indonesia does not allow adults to hold dual nationalities, and children of mixed marriages must decide their nationality at the age of 21.

However, Luhut Pandjaitan, Indonesia’s coordinating minister for maritime affairs and investment, said the government was working on changes to that law.

“We are welcoming the Indonesian diaspora soon with the provision of dual citizenship. When they [diaspora] fulfil the requirements to obtain Indonesian citizenship, in my opinion, it will really help the Indonesian economy and also bring highly skilled Indonesians [diaspora] back to Indonesia,” Luhut said at an event attended by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella in Jakarta on April 30.

However, he did not offer any particular timeline or further details about the potential change to the law, and nothing else has been announced since.

The statement by Luhut, also known