Jakarta – The government will impose sanctions on those who defy the 2021 Idul Fitri homecoming ban as a drastic measure to contain coronavirus transmission.
Mudik or going back to one's hometown to celebrate Idul Fitri has been a long-running tradition among Indonesians. The pandemic-induced ban, which takes effect starting from May 6 to 17, has forced many people to kiss their homecoming plans goodbye. Business trips and emergency travels, however, are exempted from the ban.
Transportation Ministry spokeswoman Adita Irawati said anyone traveling without the exemption letter would be subject to a sanction.
"The least severe sanction is to be forced to turn back. This includes public transportations that do not have a permit," Adita said on Thursday.
Illegal travel vehicles will face the most severe sanction, as not only do they defy the annual exodus ban, but also traffic regulations. Operators of the said illegal vehicles will face administrative sanctions and have their license revoked if they insist on running the illegal business.
According to Adita, monitoring land transports on the road can be challenging compared to stations, bus terminals, and airports, which all have a one-door checkpoint.
Some people had also snuck out and traveled to their hometowns before the ban took effect. People's mobility via plane, sea transports, and trains had increased three days before the ban.
Adita, however, claimed the increase was not significant. She also revealed the cumulative number of vehicles passing by the toll roads was close to the government's prediction, or around 150,000 vehicles based on state-controlled toll operator Jasa Marga's calculations.
"The increase is not as high as we have predicted. It is still at 10 to 15 percent," she added.
The Covid-19 Handling and National Economic Recovery Committee (KPCPEN) urged the public to ditch their homecoming plans.
Arya Sinulingga, the public communication PMO coordinator at KPCPEN, said the government has the best reasons for imposing the exodus ban. Covid-19 cases tend to soar after a long holiday. Countries such as India are also struggling to contain the pandemic.
"Do not let the declining transmission pick up its pace because we defy the exodus ban," Arya said.
Indonesia reported 5,647 cases and 147 deaths Thursday, less than half of their peaks at the end of January when the country saw more than 14,000 cases and over 400 deaths in a day.
Still, according to data from the Health Ministry, the number of Covid-19 cases tends to increase in two weeks following a holiday or mass public gathering. Indonesia was the latest bump in the number of cases a week after Easter, with the cases seven-day average rising to more than 5,200 from 4,800.
Setting an example
The government hopes civil servants can set a good example to the public by complying with the ban.
"We must keep our guard up. Civil servants should set an example by not going on mudik on this year's Idul Fitri," Rini Widyantini, a deputy for institutions and governance at the Administrative and Bureaucracy Reforms Ministry, stated.
She even urged the public to report any defiant civil servants via lapor.go.id, SMS 1708, or the SP4N Lapor! mobile app. When reporting, they must write down the civil state servant in question, the institution and working unit, location, and attach a piece of evidence (if there is any).
"Staffing officers must impose disciplinary sanctions to those who insist on going on mudik," Rini said.
Defiant civil servants will be subject to disciplinary sanctions, according to the 2010 government regulation on civil servant's discipline and the 2018 government regulation on contract-based government employee management.
Staffing officers in ministries, institutions, and regional governments will also have to fill in a homecoming ban report form via s.id/LaranganBepergianASN, linked to the Bureaucracy Reforms Ministry database.