Thursday, January 20, 2022

INDONESIA ACCELERATES VACCINATION DRIVE AMID THREAT OF OMICRON SPREAD By Fardah

 

Jakarta, 21/1/2022 (ANTARA) - The Indonesian Government has expedited the implementation of the vaccination drive, including booster shot offers, following the surfacing of the new COVID-19 variant called Omicron that has spread in several countries.

Optimizing the vaccination campaign has become increasingly urgent, as the nation has reported a nearly fivefold increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in the past three weeks, according to the COVID-19 Handling Task Force.

The number of COVID-19 cases had increased, from 1,123 to 5,454 in the past three weeks, spokesperson for the COVID-19 Handling Task Force, Wiku Adisasmito, stated on January 20, 2022.

The number of active COVID-19 cases this week reached 8,605, an increase of three thousand as compared to the previous week when the number of cases totalled 5,494. The spread of COVID-19 in Indonesia is mostly due to local transmission.

The first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in Indonesia in March 2020. As of January 20, 2022, at least 4,277,644 people had tested positive for COVID-19 in the country, while 4,121,117 people had recovered, and 144,199 people had succumbed to the virus.



The Health Ministry detected the first Omicron case in Indonesia on December 15, 2021. As of January 20, 2022, the ministry has recorded as many as 882 Omicron cases in the country.

Based on data from the COVID-19 Task Force, as of January 20, a total of 179,153,744 Indonesians had received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and 122,378,266 people had received the second dose.

Overall, the government is targeting to fully vaccinate 208,265,720 Indonesians out of the nations population of over 273 million.

In addition, 1,328,659, or 90.46 percent of the health workers have been administered the booster vaccine.

The Indonesian government, on January 12, 2022, rolled out booster vaccinations for the public, in general, who have completed six months since having received the second COVID-19 dose.

Booster vaccinations, which are free and not mandatory, aim to offer additional protection to individuals amid the emergence of the Omicron strain.

Friday, January 14, 2022

INDONESIA'S BOOSTER SHOT DRIVE PRIORITIZES ELDERLY By Fardah

 

Jakarta, 15/1/2022 (ANTARA) - The Indonesian government on January 12, 2022, rolled out booster vaccinations for those who have completed six months since receiving the second COVID-19 dose.

The booster vaccinations, which are free and not mandatory, aim to offer additional protection to individuals amid the emergence of new COVID-19 variants, notably Omicron.

"I have decided that the COVID-19 booster vaccine will be free of charge for all Indonesians because once again I emphasize that people's safety is our first priority," President Joko Widodo said while announcing the booster shot drive on January 11.

"The government will start administering the third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine from January 12. We will prioritize the vaccine for the elderly and vulnerable groups," he added.

The booster vaccine is considered important for increasing the community's immunity in view of the fact that the coronavirus has continued to mutate, he said.

However, after receiving the booster vaccine, people must remain disciplined in implementing the health protocols, such as maintaining distance, wearing face masks, and washing hands, he added.

Based on data from the Ministry of Health, as of January 12, a total of 171,056,204 Indonesians have received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine (82.13 percent of the target) and 117,333,660 people have received the second dose (56.34 percent of the target).

 

Friday, December 31, 2021

PIDI 4.0: A ONE-STOP SOLUTION FOR DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY ADOPTION By Fardah

Jakarta, 31/12 / 2021 (ANTARA) - With 196.7 million Internet users, Indonesia is currently accelerating the digital transformation process, especially in the economic field.

In the current digital era, the Internet has triggered the Fourth Industrial Revolution, marked by the development of the digital economy globally, among others.

"Digitalization is a means to push for the transformation to a new economy with added value and better competitiveness," Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs, Airlangga Hartarto, once said.

Digital technology has opened up the possibility of greater collaboration among economic stakeholders for expediting trade, creating jobs, and improving access to public services, he noted.

"This momentum must be used to push the digital transformation process," he stressed.

The value of the digital economy of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has crossed US$100 billion, he noted. It is predicted to grow threefold by 2025 to more than US$300 billion, the minister said.

The largest contributor to the ASEAN digital economy has been e-commerce, followed by transportation and food delivery, online media, and travel, he said. Healthtech and edutech have also grown into promising sectors, he added.

Indonesia's digital economy is currently valued at US$44 billion, making it the largest in ASEAN, he pointed out. This figure is predicted to grow eightfold by 2030, according to Hartarto, who is also the chairman of the Golkar Party.

Most of the value of the digital economy has been contributed by e-commerce transactions, which are estimated to increase to US$32 billion by 2025, reflecting a growth of 54 percent, the minister said.

 

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

REPARING INDONESIANS TO BE FULLY DIGITALLY LITERATE By Fardah


 Jakarta, 29/12/2021 (ANTARA) - The socio-economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted the Indonesian government to expedite the digital transformation process.

Out of the over 276 million people living in Indonesia, 196.7 million are Internet users.

Digital literacy in Indonesia is currently in the medium category and needs to be improved, according to the Communication and Informatics Ministry.

World Bank data shows that Indonesia is experiencing a digital talent gap as the nation needs at least 9 million digital talents in 15 years, or an average of 600 thousand digital talents each year, the ministry pointed out.

Communication and Informatics Minister Johnny G. Plate launched the National Movement of Digital Literacy to raise public awareness on the importance of digital competency on April 16, 2021.

The movement was followed by the launch of the National Digital Literacy Program by President Joko Widodo on May 20, 2021, which coincided with National Awakening Day. The program was aimed at accelerating the countrys digital transformation.

In facing the digital era, Indonesia plans to make its people capable and competent in using information technology, particularly the Internet, for productive activities and educational purposes.

Digital literacy events have been deemed necessary as the nation is preparing its human resources to master digital technology, apart from building various telecommunication technology infrastructures necessary for national digital transformation.

Without involving all people in the digital space, the established information and communication technology infrastructure cannot be used optimally, Plate said.

To support digital transformation, the Ministry of Communications and Informatics has carried out several activities by involving many stakeholders since 2017, he added.

This is our joint task to ensure that every child of the nation is able to optimize Internet use. Digital literacy is a necessity to fortify netizens from the negative impacts of the Internet, Plate remarked.

The ministry has set a target of improving the digital competence of some 100 million Indonesians by 2025, he informed.

To support the target, the ministry has carried out the Digital Talent Scholarship (DTS) Program, offering around 100 thousand scholarships annually for non-degree digital literacy courses, in collaboration with 197 partners, including global technology companies, local governments, state-owned enterprises, polytechnics, and universities, he noted.

"A number of studies have found that we need at least 600 thousand digital talents with intermediate skills every year for the next 15 years. Hence, the ministry has taken the talents development initiative for several years," Plate informed.

In 2021, the program ran quite extensively, reaching 131,204 participants, he noted.

The curricula of the program includes the development of cloud computing, artificial intelligence, the internet of things (IoT), virtual reality, augmented reality, and coding, he said.

Furthermore, it is hoped that the program's participants will increase to 200 thousand, in collaboration with more than 100 universities in Indonesia, he added.

Meanwhile, for developing advanced digital skills, a Digital Leadership Training program is being offered, which was attended by 306 participants in 2021.

The program is being provided in collaboration with four globally renowned universities -- the National University of Singapore, Tsinghua University, Harvard University, and Oxford University, he noted.

The program will target 400 participants and be further improved in 2022 through collaborations with eight world-class universities, including Cornell University, the University of Cambridge, Imperial College London, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he informed.

In 2021, the National Digital Literacy Program sought to organize 20 thousand trainings with modules and curricula covering four pillars of digital literacydigital ethics, digital safety, digital skills, and digital culture, the minister said.

At least 110 institutions and community organizations supported the training program, which aimed at providing an understanding to the people on navigating the digital space and building the requisite skills to utilize the advancements in digital technology, he added.

By the end of 2024, 50 million Indonesians are expected to receive basic digital training, he said.

The program will target 12.4 million training participants per year in 514 districts and cities in 34 provinces across Indonesia, he added.

Indonesia's digital transformation is focused on 10 priority sectors and aims to expedite the realization of digital infrastructure for the government, economy, and society.

The sectors are digital transportation and tourism, digital trade, digital financial services, digital media and entertainment, digital agriculture and fisheries, digital real estate and urban, digital education, digital health, industrial digitization, and government digitization.

The government has compiled a Digital Indonesia Roadmap for 20212024 as a strategic guide to drive the nation's digital transformation process.

The guide contains 100 key initiatives that will be implemented in collaboration with all ministries, central and regional institutions, business actors, and the general public.

Indonesias National Movement for Digital Literacy (Siberkreasi) has been awarded the 2020 World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) Prize in the category of Capacity Building by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

In the meantime, Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati said the government has allocated a state budget of Rp75 trillion (US$5.2 billion) for investment in digital infrastructure for the 20192022 period.

The channeling of large investments, satellites, fiber optic cable networks, and base transceiver stations (BT) can serve the entire territory of Indonesia, she affirmed.

Over 20 thousand villages that currently lack good Internet access can be connected to a reliable Internet system, she noted.

Schools, Islamic boarding schools, and community health centers can be digitally connected to the Internet, she added.

Thus, digital infrastructure can support digital transformation not only in the economic sector but also in the health and educational sectors that are also of great significance, she said.

Besides, digital technology has offered opportunities to conduct increasingly democratic and equitable development, she noted.

However, the minister pointed out that increasingly democratic and equitable development will not materialize if some elements of the community are unable to access technology and the Internet. Hence the development of human resources in the digital field is crucial, she added. 

 

Monday, December 27, 2021

INDONESIA'S UNSHAKABLE SUPPORT FOR PALESTINE'S QUEST FOR FREEDOM By Fardah


Jakarta, 27/12/2021 (ANTARA) - The question of the possibility of Indonesia establishing diplomatic ties with Israel has again attracted the media spotlight, similar to speculation in Israeli media in December 2020 after several Arab nations agreed to normalize relations with Israel.

Axios (www.axios.com), an American news website, on December 22, 2021, reported that U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken had raised the possibility of Indonesia normalizing diplomatic relations with Israel during meetings with officials in Jakarta, December 13 and 14.

The report, however, added that Israeli officials had stressed that no such step was imminent.

The US media outlet also wrote that the Biden administration is trying to build on the Trump-era Abraham Accords, and in this case, looking beyond the Middle East to the largest of the countries that do not recognize Israel.

The Abraham Accords refer to agreements between Israel and four Muslim-majority countries -- the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco, and Sudan -- for normalizing relations.

We are always exploring additional opportunities for normalization, but well leave those discussions behind closed doors until the right moment," State Department spokesperson Ned Price told Axios.

The Indonesian Foreign Ministry later confirmed that Blinken did raise the issue during talks with Indonesian Foreign Affairs Minister Retno LP Marsudi.

The ministry's spokesperson, Teuku Faizasyah, told the media on December 24 that during the meeting, Marsudi "conveyed Indonesia's consistent position towards Palestine that Indonesia will continue, with the Palestinian people, to fight for justice and independence."

This stance is in accordance with the policy of President Joko Widodo (Jokowi), who has affirmed that Indonesia will continue to stand with the Palestinian people until the day they gain independence.

Indonesia has consistently supported Palestine's claims, the President said while speaking at the UN General Assembly on September 24, 2020.

The consistent stance against colonialism and occupation is in line with the mandate of Indonesia's 1945 Constitution and its Preamble, which states that colonialism must be abolished in this world, he added.

 

 

 

During a bilateral meeting with Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Ibrahim Shtayyeh on the sidelines of the Conference of Parties (COP) 26 World Leaders Summit in Glasgow, Scotland, on November 1, 2021, President Jokowi reaffirmed Indonesia's commitment to supporting Palestine's struggle to become an independent, fully sovereign, and self-determined state, with East Jerusalem as its capital.

"Palestine has always been an important concern for Indonesia," the President said, as quoted by the press bureau of the Presidential Secretariat.

Furthermore, the head of state noted that Indonesia has several concerns regarding Palestine.

First, Indonesia is very concerned and condemns the various violations being done by Israel, he said.

Hence, on various occasions, Indonesia has proposed the establishment of an international peacekeeping mission to serve as the international community's "ears" and "eyes" to various incidents occurring in Jerusalem, he explained.

"In addition, the mission aims to ensure the safety of the residents in the occupied territories and maintain its status as a holy city for three religions (Christianity, Islam, and Judaism)," he affirmed.

Second, Indonesia also encourages credible multilateral negotiations, Jokowi said.

"Indonesia is willing to encourage the Middle East Quartet to restart peace negotiations to achieve a two-state solution that can coexist peacefully," he added.

The quartet is a group of nations, international organizations, and the supranational entity of the United Nations, the United States, the European Union, and Russia, which are mediating the peace negotiations between Palestine and Israel.

President Jokowi pledged that Indonesia will continue to support Palestinians' struggle at various international forums, for instance, the meetings of the United Nations (UN), the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), and the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM).

Lastly, the Indonesian President urged Palestine to strengthen unity among Palestinians, saying national unity is crucial to the success of their struggle for independence.

In the meantime, Speaker of the Indonesian House of Representatives (DPR), Puan Maharani, affirmed Indonesias support for Palestine's independence and urged all member states of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) to pledge their support to the Palestine cause, too.

The House Speaker delivered the statement during the inauguration of the Parliamentary Network of Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) in Madrid, Spain, in November 2021, on the sidelines of the 143rd Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) General Assembly.

"The parliaments of member states of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) should encourage their respective governments to support Palestine's independence," Maharani said.

NAM countries have jointly sought Palestine's independence since the Bandung Conference in 1955, but the goal has still not been realized, she noted.

"The Bandung Conference principle has mandated NAM countries to support Palestine in their struggle for justice," she added.

Considering the number of member countries (120), NAM has the potential to make a significant contribution to resolving global issues, she said. However, this potential must be interpreted by each member country so it becomes a positive influence and can make a real contribution, she added.

"This requires all of us to be solid and work together in unity," Maharani affirmed.

Recently, an expert on the Middle East at the University of Indonesia (UI), Yon Machmudi, said that the interests of Palestine have become a major consideration for Indonesia in deciding whether to establish diplomatic ties with Israel or not.

This is because the Palestinian cause is part of the main core of Indonesian diplomacy, he added.

"If America and Israel think that normalization (between Indonesia and Israel) is necessary, then it must be balanced with their seriousness in materializing a solution for Palestines independence, Machmudi said.

As long as Palestine is still under the occupation of Israel, establishing diplomatic ties with Israel would trigger domestic political instability in Indonesia, he added.

He said that normalization with Israel must be one package with the independence of Palestine. When Palestine gains its independence, there will be no more reason to deny diplomatic ties with Israel, he added. 

Thursday, December 23, 2021

DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION HELPING MSMES NAVIGATE COVID CRISIS By Fardah



 Jakarta, 23/12/2021 (ANTARA) - The COVID-19 pandemic caused major disruptions in the global economy, particularly at the beginning of the outbreak, which forced economic activities, including shipping, supply, and production, to come to a standstill.

The Indonesian economy was also battered by the pandemic, which left micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), the countrys economic backbone, struggling for survival.

Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, MSMEs accounted for 60 percent of the nation's gross domestic product (GDP) and employed around 97 percent of its workforce.

The pandemic's impact on MSMEs included sales declines, product distribution halts, marketing problems, and capital and raw material shortages.

To keep MSMEs afloat, the government decided to intervene and prepared long- and short-term strategies such as tax incentives, credit relaxation and restructuring, working capital financing, and digital transformation training, among others.

Digital transformation is key for ensuring MSMEs can survive and thrive post-COVID-19, according to Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati.

"The role of digital technology is paramount for MSMEs as the pandemic has hastened the transition to a digital economy," she said at a Google for Indonesia event on December 2, 2021.

Entrepreneurs could utilize digital technology to enhance product quality, access new capital opportunities, and expand market reach, she pointed out.

The government has established cooperation with various stakeholders, including the private sector, to ramp up MSME recovery and growth by supporting their access to digital technology, the minister noted.

The government has also collaborated with technology company Google, whose digital literacy class has covered more than two million MSMEs, she said.

Indrawati lauded Google's collaboration with international non-profit organization KIVA to cooperate with local partners to distribute low-interest business loans with a total value of US$10 million.