Moch. Fiqih Prawira Adjie, Jakarta – The State Palace is bracing for social unrest ahead of Ramadan amid the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has hit people's purchasing power and put many out of work.
The Executive Office of the Presidential held an online meeting with the National Police's Security Intelligence Agency (Baintelkam) on Wednesday to discuss various economic measures and prepare for an increase in crimes and security threats.
"Security is one of the issues the [Executive Office of the President] monitors. [We must prepare for] the increase in unemployment, so that the impact will not result in social and security conflicts," the office's undersecretary for politics, law, defense and human rights, Jaleswari Pramodhawardani, said in a statement on Thursday.
Wednesday's meeting was held to formulate measures to ensure stability during the outbreak.
Baintelkam state security director Brig. Gen. Umar Effendi said that, based on the police's internal studies, there was a risk of an increase in crime that could disrupt public order and security.
"There will always be potential for riots and crimes, especially at a time like this. Therefore, we [the police] are coordinating efforts down to local police forces to conduct supervision and [public] education," he said in the statement.
Umar asserted that the police would stand on the front line to keep the public safe.
"We would use a preventive and persuasive approach for security, stability and public order. We would also help the government by escorting the distribution of social aid for impacted residents," Umar added.
Economists have warned that government must safeguard social aid and food supplies to prevent social unrest as the pandemic has had a severe impact on workers and households.
The government has set aside Rp 436.1 trillion (US$26.36 billion), equivalent to 2.5 percent of the country's gross domestic product, for stimulus packages that are focused on healthcare spending, social protection and economic recovery.