Sabtu, 04 Juli 2020

Global community's growing chorus against Israel's annexation plan by Fardah

Jakarta, July 4, 2020 (ANTARA) - Israel did not proceed with its planned July-1 annexation of parts of West Bank and Jordan Valley, Palestine, amid fierce rejection by the international community, including its closest allies: the Great Britain, Australia, and Germany.

Vociferous oppositions also arose from the European Union (EU), Arab nations, and Asian countries, including Indonesia, which have been appealing to the international community to reject the plan since the start.

Palestine too has unitedly voiced its rejection of the plan. Both Hamas and Fatah have condemned Israel for attempting to grab more Palestinian land.

International organizations, including the UN, the Arab League, and the OIC, have also called on Israel to abandon settlement plans that run counter to the international laws and UN resolutions. Dozens of UN experts were apprehensive that the proposed annexation plan would create a “21st century apartheid”.


Indonesia, a staunch and consistent supporter of Palestine’s struggle for independence, has proactively kept up the pressure against Israel’s annexation plan through various international forums.

Foreign Affairs Minister Retno Marsudi sent letters to dozens of governments worldwide to garner support for the rejection of the plan on May 27, 2020.

“I have received positive responses from many countries, including South Africa, Brunei Darussalam, Malaysia, China, Japan, Russia, Tunisia, Vietnam, Egypt, Jordan, Ireland, and France, as well as from the UN secretary general and the OIC secretary general,” the minister stated in Jakarta on July 2, 2020.

Those countries mostly voiced their support to Indonesia’s initiative to urge the international community to prevent and reject the annexation plan. Moreover, they voiced the need to pursue a two-state solution to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

A common concern is that the annexation would threaten regional and global stability while also impairing the effective mitigation efforts against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Earlier, Indonesia, along with Tunisia and South Africa, had initiated a ministerial-level meeting of the UN Security Council (UNSC) to deliberate on Israel’s unilateral plan to annex Palestine.

Jumat, 03 Juli 2020

Timely budget spending crucial for economic recovery amid COVID-19 by Fardah

Jakarta, July 3, 2020 (ANTARA) - President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) delivered a strong rebuke to ministers and leaders of state institutions over the slow handling of the COVID-19 crisis during a cabinet meeting on June 18 this year.

He ordered his aides to improve ministerial budget spending, noting that expenditure in the health sector has only reached two percent of the budgeted Rp75 trillion.

The President also highlighted the need for promptly disbursing social assistance and ensuring that micro-, small-, and medium-scale businesses receive the necessary economic stimulus.

“The atmosphere in the last three months and in the next three months should be one of crisis. ... I see there are still many of us who [are still acting] as usual. I'm annoyed," he said in a video released on June 28, 2020.

He expressed annoyance at the “lack of sense of crisis” among his ministers, and threatened to dissolve certain institutions or carry out a cabinet reshuffle, if necessary.

Jokowi has been repeatedly reminding ministers to move fast in spending their allocated budgets, including for MSMEs, the health sector, and providing social benefits for the poor, so that jobs can be created and the economy, which has been dealt a severe blow by the COVID-19 pandemic, can recover.  

 "I have ordered all ministries and institutions to spend the existing budget, and I am monitoring it every day," Jokowi said on June 30, 2020.

The President said he has been keeping tabs on the budget disbursals of each ministry and state agency on a daily basis.

The head of state highlighted the need to expedite budget disbursals by ministries to increase money supply and stimulate the economy.

After COVID shock, Indonesia moves to make health sector crisis-ready by Fardah

Jakarta, July 4, 2020 (ANTARA) - The coronavirus pandemic, which first emerged in China in late 2019 and then spread rapidly across the globe, has caught many countries unprepared, sparking an unprecedented crisis across the world.  


Lack of planning and preparation in dealing with the crisis has led to a loss of lives, including those of doctors and nurses fighting at the frontlines of the COVID-19 battle, often with inadequate personal protection due to shortage of critical medical and safety equipment, including masks, which are easy to produce and cheap in cost.  
 

As of July 4, 2020, the number of COVID-19 cases worldwide has reached 11,219,696, with 6,363,696 recoveries and 529,601 deaths. 

In Indonesia, 62,142 people have been infected with the virus so far, with the number of patients recovering from the virus climbing to 28,219 and the death toll mounting to 3,089. 


As per data provided on May 6, 2020 by the Task Force for the Acceleration of COVID-19 Response, 55 medical workers — 38 doctors and 12 nurses — have succumbed to the infection in Indonesia.
 

In East Java, 86 doctors and 146 nurses have been exposed to COVID-19, said Dr. Sutrisno, chairman of the province’s Indonesian Medical Association (IDI). Thirteen doctors and 11 nurses have succumbed to the disease, he added. 


In South Sulawesi, Prof. Dr Syafri Kamsul Arif, spokesperson for the local COVID-19 response task force, said 70 health workers have contracted the virus, of whom, 60 percent have made a full recovery.
 

Rabu, 01 Juli 2020

Indonesia strives to win tourist confidence amid COVID-19 by Fardah

Jakarta, July 2, 2020 (ANTARA) - The Indonesian government is taking steps to build tourist confidence, considered vital for the successful recovery of the tourism sector, by putting stringent health protocols and screening guidelines in place for regions planning to reopen to tourists. 

As it gears for the implementation of the new normal, the government is making efforts to ensure only those regions which report a low COVID-19 transmission rate, backed by scientific data, are allowed to proceed with their plans for receiving tourists, and that too under strict protocols advised by the World Health Organization (WHO).    

"We must not push to apply a new normal while it is, in fact, not possible based on the (COVID-19 cases) data. Do not force it. Hence, the stages must be prepared," President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) said on June 29, 2020. 

As parts of the efforts to regain tourist confidence, the Tourism and Creative Economy Ministry has formulated and socialized health protocols, dubbed Cleanliness, Health and Safety (CHS) protocols.

"Indonesia's success in handling COVID-19 can be a consideration in building the nation’s brand. Hence, a synergy between ASITA (Association of Indonesian Tours and Travel Agencies) and representatives of market countries is needed to boost tourist confidence," Nia Niscaya, deputy of the marketing division of the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy said on June 28, 2020.

Learning from several countries that have managed to recover from the COVID-19 outbreak, the ministry plans to first focus on the domestic market.

The ministry plans to launch a campaign dubbed #DiIndonesiaAja (#JustStayInIndonesia) targeting the market segment of families, couples, individual tourists, or fully independent travelers (FIT), and the government.

A digital prescription for MSMEs amid COVID-19 by Fardah

Jakarta (ANTARA) , July 2, 2020 - Micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), the backbone of the Indonesian economy, have been particularly vulnerable to the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic owing to transport, and supply and demand chain disruptions, and restrictions on movement of people. 

To help them survive amid the near economic collapse caused by the pandemic, the Indonesian government has announced a major economic stimulus package for MSMEs.    

According to Teten Masduki, Minister of Cooperatives and Small and Medium-scale Enterprises (SMEs), as much as Rp735 trillion of funding has been allocated for MSME revival.

"We are optimistic that if the Rp735 trillion is channeled for the MSME (revival) budget, the economy can be reactivated," the minister said.

The government, institutions, and state-owned enterprises budget for MSMEs is expected to help boost the national economy. 

"We have to maintain (MSMEs) as our market is rather significant with 250 million people (being served by such businesses). If there is commitment among the people to buy from MSMEs, it will increase the demand for (products made by) MSMEs, he said.

The ministry has granted relaxations on MSME loans through installment delays, credit subsidy, tax amnesty, and provisions for new, more affordable capital for MSMEs to ensure their productivity is maintained. 

At present, the Cooperatives and SME Ministry is preparing a digital catalog and a page specifically for MSMEs with the help of the Government Institution for Provisions of Goods and Services (LKPP).

Indonesia had 64.1 million MSME businesses, as of the first half of 2019. Of the total figure, 63.3 million, or 98.6 percent, are microbusinesses. Of the total MSMEs, only about 13 percent, or 8.3 million, have capitalized on digitalization to conduct their businesses.

Selasa, 30 Juni 2020

A deep sense of humanity for Rohingya prevails in Aceh by Fardah

Jakarta (ANTARA) , July 1, 2020- The smiles are again back on the faces of Rohingya children after being rescued from a sinking boat and currently being accommodated in an abandoned immigration building in Blang Mangat, Lhokseumawe, Aceh.

The 35 Rohingya children are part of the total 100 Rohingya refugees, who were rescued by three Aceh fishermen -- Faisal, Abdul Aziz, and Raja -- on hearing their audible cries after their damaged boat began sinking in the Malacca Strait waters. 

The three fishermen moved the refugees, including 48 women, to another boat and pulled them near the North Aceh shore on June 24, 2020.

The local authorities, petrified of the spread of the COVID-19 disease, prevented the refugees from disembarking and pushed the boat back to sea after giving them food and drinking water.

The local villagers were moved at witnessing the plight of children and women crying for help while their boat was pushed back from Lancok Beach in Syantalira Bayu Sub-district, North Aceh District, and attempted to reason with several officers. They insisted that the refugees be allowed to disembark on Aceh land.

In the afternoon of June 25, amid extreme weather, strong winds, and dark cloudy skies, several villagers took it upon themselves to evacuate the refugees without awaiting the authorities’ approval.

“We will pull the boat back and feed them here,” Nasruddin, one of the villagers, stated.

With a strong sense of humanity and empathy, the villagers took the bold move, as there were infants, children, and old women aboard the boat.