JAKARTA, KOMPAS.com – Indonesian Vice President Ma’ruf Amin has asked the country's ulamas or Muslim scholars to lend a helping hand in minimizing the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on people's lives and the economy.
The role of ulamas is to minimize further losses and prevent the crisis from inflicting further damage on society and the economy, the Vice President said, noting their participation is particularly important at this time as Indonesia pushes ahead with its transition to the new normal and gradually reopens the national economy.
“It’s dangerous because what we are up against is not only the Covid-19 virus, but it is also the social and economic impacts. For ulamas, this is a responsibility that we must act on to reduce the losses,” said Ma’ruf via teleconference on July 2.
On the economy, the Indonesian Vice President pointed out the country's 2.9 percent growth recorded in the first quarter of 2020.
This was far below the government’s expectations of 4 percent. The third-quarter economic performance is predicted to post an even worse low point of minus 0.5 – 0.1 percent.
Indonesia’s Finance Minister had previously emphasized that the national economy has been under immense pressure in the second quarter of this year.
This was due to the government’s large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) that were enforced in numerous parts of the country between March and April 2020.
The government expects the economy to contract 3.1 percent during the second quarter of 2020.
“Even though in the first quarter the economy grew 2.97 percent, the second quarter will see the economy contract. Namely due to PSBB enforcement in key areas that have a significant economic contribution such as Jakarta, Central Java, East Java, and West Java,” said Sri Mulyani during a video conference on June 16.
“With PSBB, the second-quarter economic performance will likely be minus 3.1 percent,” stated the Finance Minister.
Other public figures welcomed
While Ma’ruf Amin called on ulamas to assist the government in reducing the negative impact of the coronavirus pandemic, the country’s National Covid-19 Task Force has also invited influencers, government officials, and a slew of other prominent figures to set an example for the Indonesian public.