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Indonesia & East Timor Digest

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June 10, 2020

Jakarta Post - June 10, 2020

Ivany Atina Arbi, Jakarta – The Transportation Ministry has revoked a rule that requires the passenger load factor of public transportation and private vehicles to not exceed 50 percent to prevent the spread of COVID-19 as the country enters a transition period of relaxed restrictions called the "new normal".

Jakarta Post - June 10, 2020

Ghina Ghaliya, Jakarta – Gerindra Party chairman Prabowo Subianto will soon decide on the candidate for the party to endorse in the 2024 presidential election, a party top official has said, adding that Probowo himself is ready to run again.

Jakarta Post - June 10, 2020

Mardika Parama, Jakarta – Quantity does not equal quality for the Indonesian textile industry, which has contributed to a production surplus of personal protective equipment (PPE) to meet demand during the COVID-19 health crisis, despite complaints from users over quality and distribution.

Jakarta Post - June 10, 2020

Adrian Wail Akhlas, Jakarta – The government is pinning its hopes on restarting the economy to kickstart recovery, despite the latest surge in new COVID-19 cases and as sales continue to drop across various industries as a result of the large-scale social restrictions (PSBB).

Tempo Column - June 10, 2020

Ali Umar – President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo must change the government's approach in resolving the Papua problem. At the start of his first term in office, Widodo managed to offer a new hope in efforts to find a dignified solution in Papua. He granted amnesty to Papuan political prisoners and guaranteed the upholding of human rights there.

Tempo - June 10, 2020

Budiarti Utami Putri, Jakarta – Central Java's Mayor of Semarang Hendrar Prihadi on Tuesday said that the COVID-19 cases happening in his region had surged after the Eid celebration, which comes after the fact that there was a drop in cases one week prior to Eid.

He revealed the fact in an online seminar entitled 'Pancasila and social justice.'

Jakarta Globe - June 10, 2020

Tara Marchelin, Jakarta – The government has to improve digital infrastructure around the country, especially in poorer remote areas, since fast internet connection will be one of the essential services of a "new normal," the House of Representatives' Commission I chairwoman Meutya Hafid said on Wednesday.

Jakarta Post - June 10, 2020

Made Anthony Iswara, Jakarta – Village administrations need to play a bigger role in containing the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak so they can carry out more effective preventive measures and provide social safety nets, a watchdog has said.

Jakarta Post - June 10, 2020

Jakarta – Despite the strict protocols in place surrounding the burial of victims and suspected victims of COVID-19 there have been a number of incidents reported recently of family and friends forcibly carrying off the bodies of dead patients from hospitals to be buried according to their own wishes.

Jakarta Post - June 10, 2020

Ghina Ghaliya, Jakarta – The House of Representatives Legislation Body (Baleg) is considering dropping proposed revisions to the Press Law from the omnibus bill on job creation. The proposed changes have been criticized by media groups as a threat to press freedom.

Jakarta Post - June 10, 2020

Dzulfiqar Fathur Rahman, Jakarta – Recipients of funds and training under the government's preemployment card may not be able to practice the skills they learn through the program because the labor market has not recovered, experts say.

Jakarta Post - June 10, 2020

Galih Gumelar, Jakarta – Three months ago, professional DJ Ganarjito Abirowo was still performing at multiple nightclubs in Jakarta. Under the stage name of Jidho, he used to perform five nights a week, making a name for himself as a sought-after DJ in the capital.

However, the coronavirus pandemic has turned his life upside down.

Jakarta Globe - June 10, 2020

Lenny Tristia Tambun, Jakarta – President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo held a video conference with governors of all Indonesian provinces on Wednesday to order renewed measures in curbing the spread of coronavirus in response to record-high cases a day earlier.

He warned them they could be ordered to return to lockdown if a new wave of infections occurred in their regions.

Jakarta Post - June 10, 2020

Apriza Pinandita, Jakarta – Foreign Minister Retno LP Marsudi has sent letters to at least 30 of her counterparts around the world urging them to reject the Israeli government's plan to annex a large part of the West Bank, the Foreign Ministry announced on Wednesday.

CNN Indonesia - June 10, 2020

Jakarta – The Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi) has rejected an invitation to attend a public hearing with the House of Representative's (DPR) Legislative Body (Baleg) to discuss the Draft Omnibus Law on Job Creation on Wednesday June 10.

Tempo - June 10, 2020

Fikri Arigi, Jakarta – Indonesian National Police (Polri) spokesperson Brig. Gen. Awi Setiyono said that the complaints filed to the Human Rights National Commission (Komnas HAM) against the police institution are a motivating factor to better the police institution.

Jakarta Globe - June 10, 2020

Heru Andriyanto, Jakarta – Indonesia reported 1,043 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus on Tuesday, the highest rise in a day since the first cases were detected in the country in early March.

It's also the first time the single-day case rise in the country hit the 1,000 mark.

Jakarta Globe - June 10, 2020

Nur Yasmin, Jakarta – Indonesia has been categorized as an unsafe country in a recent report that studied Covid-19 responses in 200 countries and regions in terms of government responses, including quarantine efficiency and emergency preparedness.

Jakarta Post - June 10, 2020

Alya Nurbaiti, Jakarta – Yogyakarta-based Gadjah Mada University (UGM) has joined the ranks of the world's top 300 universities, moving up 66 places to land in 254th position on the 2021 Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings, which was released on Wednesday.

Jakarta Post - June 10, 2020

Nina Loasana, Jakarta – A group of activists under the Advocacy Coalition for Narcotics Usage for Medication along with several other civil society groups have called for the decriminalization of marijuana for medical treatments.

Jakarta Post - June 10, 2020

Sausan Atika, Jakarta – As the Jakarta administration gradually eases COVID-19 social restrictions and reopens certain business sectors, people are preparing themselves for a safe commute on public transit.

Jakarta Post - June 10, 2020

Budi Sutrisno, Jakarta – A report conducted by the Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation (YLBHI) has revealed that accusations of blasphemy are still rampant amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jakarta Post - June 10, 2020

Jakarta – A 45-year-old man from Samarinda, East Kalimantan, was arrested for alleged sexual assault against a 5-year-old girl at a daycare operated by his wife.

Samarinda Police crime investigation head First Insp. Apdilla Dalimunthe said the police had conducted an initial investigation and named E as a suspect.

June 9, 2020

Kompas.com - June 9, 2020

Achmad Nasrudin Yahya, Jakarta – The Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation (YLBHI) recorded 38 cases of religious blasphemy between January and May, 2020.

YLBHI Chairperson Asfinawati revealed that there were three pieces of legislation which were used to indict people in these cases.

Asia times - June 9, 2020

John McBeth – Jakarta's Administrative Court, reputedly the most progressive branch of Indonesia's much-maligned judicial system, may have broken new legal ground by ruling that the government acted illegally in shutting down the internet during anti-racism riots in Papua last year.

Tempo - June 9, 2020

Lani Diana Wijaya, Jakarta – Head of the pedestrian's coalition 'Koalisi Pejalan Kaki' Alfred Sitorus on Monday argues that pedestrians of the capital city will probably not abide by physical distancing protocols, even though it is put forth during the PSBB transition phase.

Jakarta Post - June 9, 2020

Made Anthony Iswara and Gemma Holliani Cahya, Jakarta – Wearing a black-and-gray scarf as a face mask, teacher Fransiskus Xaverius Faimau, 37, in North Central Timor regency, East Nusa Tenggara, was showing his class of five children study materials on his laptop under the glaring sun when one of the girls interrupted him.

Jakarta Post - June 9, 2020

Jakarta – Greater Surabaya in East Java officially ended its large-scale social restrictions (PSBB), a partial lockdown to curb the spread of COVID-19, on Monday.

Surabaya and its satellite cities, Gresik and Sidoarjo, will implement a transition phase for the next two weeks.

Jakarta Post - June 9, 2020

Made Anthony Iswara, Jakarta – Pita, a Jakarta resident who asked to use a pseudonym for this article, said anxiety had kept her from sleeping for several days at a time during the pandemic. Social distancing prevented her from gathering with her friends and going out, which had helped her cope with her stress before the outbreak.

Jakarta Post - June 9, 2020

Budi Sutrisno, Jakarta – Less than a month since the central government's first call to "co-exist" with the coronavirus, Jakarta is among the first provinces in Indonesia to ease restrictions and begin the transition to the new normal.

Jakarta Post - June 9, 2020

Jakarta – The Indonesian government will not change its decision to cancel this year's haj even if Saudi Arabia reopens Mecca and Medina for the annual pilgrimage, a minister has said.

"It is impossible for the government to prepare the pilgrims right now under proper health protocols," Religious Affairs Minister Fachrul Razi said on Tuesday.

Jakarta Post - June 9, 2020

Dzulfiqar Fathur Rahman, Jakarta – Indonesia has been hit by trade remedies involving nine trading partners that launched an investigation into alleged unfair practices by the country, resulting in potential foreign exchange losses of up to Rp 26.5 trillion (US$1.9 billion), according to the Trade Ministry.

Kompas.com - June 9, 2020

Rakhmat Nur Hakim, Jakarta – The Indonesian police (Polri) were the institution which the public reported most to the National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) in 2019. As many as 744 public complaints received by Komnas HAM questioned the police's performance.

Asia Pacific Report - June 9, 2020

Antonio Sampaio, Dili – Former East Timorese President Jose Ramos-Horta says it is not opportune for the government to be debating the possible criminalisation of defamation, with the risk of jeopardizing citizens' rights.

Instead, he says, the Timor-Leste government should concentrate on issues like the economy.

Kompas.com - June 9, 2020

Rakhmat Nur Hakim, Jakarta – National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) Deputy Commissioner Hairansyah says that 2019 was a gloomy year for human rights (HAM) in Indonesia.

This was conveyed during a virtual press conference on Komnas HAM's annual report on Tuesday June 9. "2019 was a gloomy year for the upholding of HAM", said Hairansyah during the press conference.

Jakarta Post - June 9, 2020

Rizki Fachriansyah, Jakarta – The University of Indonesia (UI) Lecturers Alliance has conveyed its support for a discussion on racism against Papuans that was previously disavowed by the university rectorate.

Jakarta Post - June 9, 2020

A. Muh. Ibnu Aqil, Jakarta – Indonesia has offered a glimpse of hope for the environment, with its rate of deforestation having decreased for a third year in a row as a result of the government's response to the devastating 2015-2016 fire crisis, even as global deforestation continues apace.

KBR - June 9, 2020

Arjuna Pademme, Jakarta – The family of Papuan treason defendant Buchtar Tabuni says the 17 year prison sentence being demanding by the public prosecutor is unjust.

Jakarta Globe - June 9, 2020

Tara Marchelin, Jakarta – The Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation, or YLBHI, said they had discovered 38 blasphemy cases in Indonesia from January to May.

In the past, the country's problematic blasphemy law has mostly been used to prosecute members of religious minorities.

Jakarta Post - June 9, 2020

Mardika Parama, Jakarta – The government aims to boost homeownership in Indonesia through its public housing savings program (Tapera), which requires employers and workers to contribute to a mortgage loan scheme similar to universal healthcare insurance. However, some employers and workers have said the program will be an added burden.

Jakarta Post - June 9, 2020

Jakarta – The National Police have reported that the number of road accidents during this year's Idul Fitri mudik (exodus) season was 31 percent lower than last year's, a decline from 2,851 accidents to 1,980.

The death toll decreased by 63 percent – from 1,116 in 2019 to 418 this year.

Jakarta Post - June 9, 2020

Jakarta – The Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) has urged people to prepare for the dry season, expected to peak in August, although it is expected to be less severe than last year.

Jakarta Post - June 9, 2020

Apriza Pinandita, Jakarta – A recent study that examined the COVID-19 safety and risk assessment of countries around the world has put Indonesia in 97th position, which is a relatively low score.

Jakarta Post - June 9, 2020

Adrian Wail Akhlas, Jakarta – Indonesia's gross domestic product (GDP) will grow at zero percent this year as the global economy is expected to see its deepest downturn since the Second World War, the World Bank has forecast.

Jakarta Post - June 9, 2020

Tri Indah Oktavianti, Jakarta – The University of Indonesia (UI) has issued a statement disavowing a public discussion held by the university's Student Executive Body (BEM UI) about racism against Papuans in the legal system, saying that the discussion did not "reflect the views and attitudes of UI as an institution".

Indonesia at Melbourne - June 9, 2020

Abdurrachman Satrio – A few years ago, when I first decided to pursue constitutional law, my late grandfather, Padjadjaran University constitutional law scholar Sri Soemantri (1926-2016), told me his life story. He recounted the challenges he faced as a scholar who spent most of his productive life under Soeharto's authoritarian New Order.

Tempo - June 9, 2020

Tempo.Co, Jakarta – Two farmers in the Kawende mountains in Poso, Central Sulawesi, were allegedly mistaken to be members of the East Indonesia Mujahidin terrorist group by the Tinombala task force (satgas Tinombala), which comprise National Armed Forces (TNI) and the National Police force.

Jakarta Post - June 9, 2020

Dyaning Pangestika and Tri Indah Oktavianti, Jakarta – As part of a campaign against sexual harassment, a cactus shaped like a penis and testicles has been sold in a Twitter-based charity auction for Rp 2 million (US$143). The auction was held to highlight the rise in sexual abuse during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jakarta Post - June 9, 2020

Jakarta – Yogyakarta Sultan Hamengkubuwono X, who is also the Yogyakarta governor, has threatened to close Jl. Malioboro after seeing people gathered in the popular tourist destination without complying with COVID-19 health protocols.

Jakarta Post - June 9, 2020

Jakarta – The Bandung administration in West Java will temporarily close three traditional markets in the city after several sellers were found to have contracted COVID-19.

The three markets are Leuwipanjang, Sadang Serang and Haur Pancuh, said Bandung Mayor Oded M. Danial.