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COVID-19: Indonesia Ombudsman slams govt for ‘focusing too much on economic recovery’

The Jakarta Post Mon, August 31, 2020

JAKARTA – The Indonesian Ombudsman has lambasted the government for prioritizing the economic recovery over public health in dealing with the double crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The government has restarted economic activities in this period. All the talk is about the economy, because everyone thinks that the vaccine [discovery] is near,” Ombudsman member Alamsyah Saragih said during an online discussion on Saturday, reported.

“The question is, will the vaccines be effective enough or not?” he asked.

Alamsyah noted that as the government had shifted its focus mainly to the economic recovery, as several regulations, especially those related to health protocol, were starting to be eased.

“Jakarta in the first month of the COVID-19 pandemic was all out to curb the spread of the virus; unfortunately, that only lasted for three to four months. When economic activities were resumed, people went out to Jakarta […] and the cycle happened [again],” he added.

Alamsyah cited recent official data that showed that Jakarta has reclaimed the status as the country’s epicenter of COVID-19 with a total tally of 39,037 cases. The capital city recorded its highest daily increase on Sunday with 1,114 new cases.

Alamsyah also pointed out that the government appeared to be scrambling to create effective regulations to deal with the pandemic, citing examples of the partial lockdown imposed under the large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) and the distribution of social aid that critics said was prone to misuse and mistargeting.

He also criticized the government over the push for the so-called new normal while efforts to treat COVID-19 patients were still deemed lacking.

“I see how the government funds were disbursed with improper timing, because our administrative system is complicated and our legal perspectives are old-fashioned,” he said. (trn)

Source: The Jakarta Post, Indonesia Mon, August 31, 2020

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