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Indonesia & East Timor Digest

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May 21, 2020

Channel News Asia - May 21, 2020

Nivell Rayda, Jakarta – Police in Indonesia are clamping down on sellers of fake medical certificates, reportedly used to circumvent travel restrictions enforced to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Asia Pacific Report - May 21, 2020

Pacific Media Centre – Seven more people have been detained in Indonesia for alleged treason since a complaint filed with the United Nations last month, says the human rights watchdog TAPOL.

Jakarta Post - May 21, 2020

Moch. Fiqih Prawira Adjie, Jakarta – The government has asked the Constitutional Court to reject a petition for a judicial review of Regulation in lieu of law (Perppu) No. 1/2020 on the COVID-19 pandemic response, saying that the Perppu has already been passed into law.

Jakarta Post - May 21, 2020

Dyaning Pangestika, Jakarta – The National Research and Innovation Agency's (BRIN) COVID-19 research consortium launched nine new inventions to support Indonesia's advanced pandemic countermeasure on Wednesday.

Jakarta Post - May 21, 2020

Arya Dipa, Bandung – West Java Governor Ridwan Kamil has said that the province's large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) will continue "proportionately" until May 29, with some cities and regencies to allow for more movement and economic activity if they are at lower risk of COVID-19 transmission.

Jakarta Post - May 21, 2020

Ivany Atina Arbi, Jakarta – A number of regional leaders have come to the defense of the central government from criticism over its handling of the COVID-19 crisis, saying that it is the responsibility of all people to help the nation get through the pandemic.

ABC News - May 21, 2020

Max Walden – Many mosques across Indonesia will allow group prayer for the Eid holiday this weekend, as crowded scenes from malls and other public places highlight the difficulty of implementing social distancing in the world's fourth most populous country.

Mongabay - May 21, 2020

Hans Nicholas Jong, Jakarta – A broad coalition of civil society groups has called on investors and buyers to stop doing business with Asia Pulp & Paper (APP), one of the world's biggest paper producers, over ongoing land disputes with villagers in Indonesia.

Jakarta Globe - May 21, 2020

Lenny Tristia Tambun, Jakarta – Indonesia is entering a critical period in its fight against the coronavirus outbreak, National Covid-19 Task Force head Doni Monardo said on Wednesday as confirmed cases of the disease have been growing at the fastest speed during the last nine days.

May 20, 2020

Jakarta Post - May 20, 2020

Adrian Wail Akhlas, Jakarta – Indonesia's current account deficit narrowed in the first quarter of this year as imports fell and the deficit in services dwindled amid the coronavirus pandemic, Bank Indonesia (BI) announced on Wednesday.

The Diplomat = May 20, 2020

Erin Cook – There's nothing like Idul Fitri in Indonesia, the world's largest Muslim-majority country. Jakarta hums endlessly all year – except for those two days. With the capital home to the vast majority of the country's COVID-19 cases, how Idul Fitri, which begins Sunday, will look is unprecedented.

Jakarta Post - May 20, 2020

Arya Dipa, Jakarta – The Industry Ministry has issued more than 5,800 operational permits to companies in West Java to keep operating amid the large-scale social restrictions (PSBB).

Jakarta Post - May 20, 2020

Alya Nurbaiti, Jakarta – The government will tighten its monitoring of the Idul Fitri mudik (exodus) ban as the Islamic holiday, which falls on May 24 and 25 this year, approaches, the Transportation Ministry said.

Jakarta Post - May 20, 2020

Ivany Atina Arbi, Jakarta – The Human Rights Watch (HRW) has urged the South Kalimantan Police to drop a defamation charge against a blogger who published articles about a land dispute between the indigenous Dayak ethnic group and a palm oil company owned by businessman Syamsudin Andi Irsyad aka Haji Isam, in the province.

Jakarta Post - May 20, 2020

Mardika Parama, Jakarta – The Transportation Ministry has suspended a flight operated by Batik Air on the Jakarta-Denpasar, Bali, route as the airline was found to have violated physical-distancing policy in its operation.

Jakarta Post - May 20, 2020

Jakarta – Entering the last week of Ramadan, shopping centers across the country are packed by shoppers getting ready to welcome the annual celebration of Idul Fitri, with many neglecting health protocols designed to curb the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jakarta Post - May 20, 2020

Riza Roidila Mufti, Jakarta – National airlines are grappling with losses due to low passenger demand and social distancing restrictions, despite getting the government's green-light to operate during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Indonesia at Melbourne - May 20, 2020

Eid is less than a week away. In Indonesia, that usually means up to 20 million people travel from crowded urban centres back to their home villages in the annual tradition known as mudik.

It is not hard to see how mudik could potentially be disastrous for the spread of Covid-19 in Indonesia but government policy on the matter has been far from clear.

The Conversation - May 20, 2020

Muhammad Zulfikar Rakhmat – Southeast Asia's largest economy, Indonesia, has again shown it prioritises the economy over its people during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jakarta Post - May 20, 2020

Eisya A. Eloksari, Jakarta – The COVID-19 outbreak, which has disrupted almost all business sectors in the country, has had a positive impact on the e-commerce sector as the virus has created a new normal in online shopping habits, a survey indicates.

Jakarta Globe - May 20, 2020
Heru Andriyanto, Jakarta – Confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Indonesia soared by 693 on Wednesday in yet another record high, almost three times the daily average since the outbreak began in early March, taking the country's total to 19,189.

The figure includes 1,242 deaths, up by 21 from the previous day, and 4,575 recoveries.

Jakarta Post - May 20, 2020

Mardika Parama, Jakarta – Weakening purchasing power following business disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has battered the country's automotive industry, forcing carmakers to significantly lower their car sales targets this year.

Jakarta Post - May 20, 2020

Moch. Fiqih Prawira Adjie, Jakarta – President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has inaugurated Adm. Yudo Margono and Air Chief Marshal Fadjar Prasetyo as the new chiefs of staff of the Navy and Air Force, respectively.

Jakarta Post - May 20, 2020

Rizki Fachriansyah, Jakarta – A music video featuring various state officials and regional heads encouraging citizens to stay at home ahead of the Idul Fitri holidays has been met with a less-than-enthusiastic response from the public, with many Indonesian netizens criticizing the video's "tone-deaf" nature amid the current COVID-19 outbreak.

Jakarta Post - May 20, 2020

Apriadi Gunawan, Asip Hasani and Tri Indah Oktavianti, Jakarta/Medan – As the country still struggles to flatten the COVID-19 transmission curve, more medical workers have fallen victim to the disease, with dozens of doctors and nurses across the country succumbing to the coronavirus.

Jakarta Globe - May 20, 2020

Tara Marchelin, Jakarta – The government needs to expand its definition of vulnerable groups during the coronavirus pandemic to be able to help more people in need, Santi Kusumaningrum, the director of the University of Indonesia's Child Protection and Wellbeing Center, or Puskapa, said on Tuesday.

Jakarta Post - May 20, 2020

Norman Harsono, Jakarta – State-owned electricity company PLN's net profit nosedived last year as a result of higher tax expenses and operational costs that had offset its higher income, according to the company's annual report released on Monday.

Radio New Zealand - May 20, 2020

The West Papua Liberation Army has stolen a number of weapons from an Indonesian police post.

A spokesman for the pro-independence guerilla fighting force said the attack on the station in Paniai regency was carried out to retrieve its own guns earlier confiscated by police.

Jakarta Post - May 20, 2020

Benny Mawel and Alya Nurbaiti, Jayapura and Jakarta – A Papuan man has died shortly after allegedly being hit by a police officer while making a complaint against a palm oil company he believed was responsible for knocking down his banana plantation in Asiki village, Boven Digoel regency, in Papua.

Jakarta Post - May 20, 2020

Budi Sutrisno, Jakarta – Jakarta has cracked down on thousands of individuals and companies for violating the capital's large-scale social restrictions (PSBB), imposing sanctions that range from letters of reprimand to fines, in accordance with the latest gubernatorial regulation.

Jakarta Post - May 20, 2020

Ghina Ghaliya, Jakarta – Political factions at the House of Representatives are divided over the title of the controversial omnibus bill on job creation, with four parties in President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's ruling coalition demanding a change.

Jakarta Post - May 20, 2020

Nina A. Loasana, Jakarta – The Health Ministry reported another record number of new confirmed COVID-19 cases on Wednesday as the government explores ways to ease the large-scale social restrictions (PSBB).

May 19, 2020

Red Flag - May 19, 2020

James Balowski – Rights groups have slammed a last-minute decision to deny parole to five Papuans jailed on charges of treason over a peaceful protest in August last year. The activists were calling for an end to racism against Papuan students and a referendum on self-determination for West Papua.

Tempo - May 19, 2020

M Rosseno Aji, Jakarta – The government's COVID-19 task force explained the reason why it changed the way it presented the data of its coronavirus counter, especially those categorized under people that are under monitoring (ODP) and patients under monitoring (PDP).

Jakarta Globe - May 19, 2020

Jakarta – New confirmed cases of coronavirus infection in Indonesia have been consistently high by averaging 535 in the last eight days until Monday, more than double the daily average of 231 cases since the first cases were identified on March 2.

Confirmed Covid-19 cases in the past week account for 20.8 percent of the total tally.

Jakarta Globe - May 19, 2020

Herman, Jakarta – According to the latest data from market research firm International Data Corporation, or IDC, smartphone shipment to Indonesia reached 7.5 million units in the first quarter of 2020, down 24.1 percent from the previous quarter.

Jakarta Post - May 19, 2020

Norman Harsono, Jakarta – Indonesia's readiness to shift toward a clean energy economy took another step back last year because of fossil fuel subsidies and faces a monumental hurdle this year as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Jakarta Post - May 19, 2020

Moch. Fiqih Prawira Adjie, Jakarta – Mass Idul Fitri prayers, such as those in mosques or public squares, are currently prohibited by public health laws, Coordinating Legal, Political and Human Rights Minister Mahfud MD said on Tuesday.

Jakarta Post - May 19, 2020

Asip Hasani, Surabaya – The East Java administration has revoked its permit that allowed Al Akbar Mosque in Surabaya to hold Idul Fitri mass prayers following criticism from experts who warned of the consequences of opening up mosques to large crowds during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jakarta Post - May 19, 2020

Galih Gumelar and Marchio Irfan Giordano, Jakarta – After being criticized for undermining the rule of law in a series of COVID-19 pandemic response policies, the government is under scrutiny once again for reviving a national health insurance (JKN) premium hike after it was annulled by the Supreme Court.

Jakarta Globe - May 19, 2020

Diana Mariska, Jakarta – Indonesia's central bank has bought $1.6 billion worth of government bonds in the primary market, underlining its commitment to remain active in it as the country faces a burgeoning state budget deficit due to the rising cost of Covid-19 mitigation efforts.

Asia Pacific Report - May 19, 2020

Sri Krishnamurthi – Australian war correspondent and investigative journalist John Martinkus warns the West Papuan conflict is "reigniting" and "that's happening now with new weapons and 20-year-olds".

Coconuts Jakarta - May 19, 2020

Habib Bahar bin Smith, a firebrand cleric who was sentenced to three years in prison for assaulting minors in 2019, has been sent back to prison briefly after he was released on probation this week.

Smith, whose prison sentence ends in December 2021, was granted early probationary release and left the Pondok Rajeg Penitentiary in Bogor on Saturday.

Tempo - May 19, 2020

Imam Hamdi, Dio Suhenda (Intern Translator), Jakarta – Chief of the Jakarta Public Order Agency (Satpol PP), Arifin, has admitted that numerous violations have occurred against the Large Scale Social Distancing Restriction (PSBB) policy throughout the week leading to Eid al-Fitr, known also as Lebaran.

Jakarta Globe - May 19, 2020

Nur Yasmin, Jakarta – The Coordinating Ministry for Economic Affairs is formulating a scoring system to determine if a region is ready for reopening under the coronavirus pandemic.

"The president has ordered us to come up with a formula to determine a region's preparedness in facing a crisis," Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Airlangga Hartarto said on Monday.

Jakarta Globe - May 19, 2020

Erfan Dana – Last Friday, a refugee living in a shelter run by the International Organization of Migration, or IMO, in Makassar, tested positive for Covid-19. Since then, as many as four other refugees are also suspected of having the virus.

Jakarta Post - May 19, 2020

Rizal Harahap, Pekanbaru – A critically endangered Sumatran tiger was found dead in a conservation area in the Siak administrative region of Riau on Monday with one of its legs caught in a wire trap.

Jakarta Post - May 19, 2020

Mardika Parama, Jakarta – Indonesia's infamous red tape could dissuade investment from US pharmaceutical companies looking to relocate from China, experts say.

Jakarta Post - May 19, 2020

Budi Sutrisno, Jakarta – The Trade Union Rights Centre (TURC) is calling on the government to reallocate its funding for the preemployment training program as cash assistance while pushing for stronger supervision of businesses to prevent further layoffs.

Jakarta Post - May 19, 2020

Ramadani Saputra, Jakarta – The presence of agnostics and atheists is not often felt in conservative Indonesia, where society largely defines itself along religious lines.

Widespread belief in traditional family values stokes fear in nonbelievers that they will be rejected by close relatives for their perspectives and often prevents them from speaking their minds.