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Airlangga Hartarto rejects proposal to include online gamblers in social assistance

Jakarta Globe - June 14, 2024

Arnoldus Kristianus, Jakarta – The surge in online gambling has raised significant concerns due to its adverse societal impacts. While the government is actively tackling the issue, two ministers have voiced different opinions on how to manage online gambling practices.

Chief Economic Affairs Minister Airlangga Hartarto dismissed Chief Cultural Affairs Minister Muhadjir Effendy's suggestion to include online gamblers as recipients of social assistance.

"Online gamblers do not receive the same benefits as online motorcycle taxi drivers," Airlangga stated at his office on Friday.

In 2022, the government provided Rp 600,000 ($36.4) in direct cash assistance to online motorcycle taxi drivers through local governments, as stipulated by Finance Minister Regulation Number 134/PMK.07/2022.

In contrast, Muhadjir Effendy advocated for including online gamblers as social assistance recipients, emphasizing support initiatives for them.

"We have actively supported victims of online gambling, integrating them into the Integrated Social Welfare Data (DTKS) for social assistance. For those facing psychosocial issues, we urge the Social Affairs Ministry to provide counseling," Muhadjir explained.

Meanwhile, President Joko Widodo unequivocally condemned online gambling, urging the public to abstain from both offline and online gambling activities.

"Do not gamble, whether offline or online. It's better to save money or invest it in business," Joko Widodo advised.

The President underscored the detrimental effects of gambling, such as financial losses, family rifts, and an increase in crime and violence.

"Gambling jeopardizes not just finances but also one's future, family, and children," Joko Widodo stressed.

The government remains committed to eliminating online gambling. President Joko Widodo reported that over 2.1 million online gambling sites have been shut down, with plans underway to establish a task force aimed at accelerating this eradication effort.

His remarks followed a tragic incident in Mojokerto, where a policewoman allegedly set fire to her husband, a police officer, after discovering he had squandered his annual bonus on online gambling.

Source: https://jakartaglobe.id/news/airlangga-hartarto-rejects-proposal-to-include-online-gamblers-in-social-assistanc