JAKARTA, KOMPAS.com - The Jakarta Provincial Administration has deferred plans to put a mask on the statue of Indonesian national hero Sudirman, the revered five-star general who commanded the Indonesian army during the war for independence against the Dutch.
Jakarta Tourism and Culture Agency head Iwan Henry Wardhana said that the plan to mask Sudirman on the thoroughfare named after him is not even finalized.
“The information obtained by the media gave the impression that the mask installation will be done soon, with [Jakarta Governor] Anies Baswedan doing the honors,” he said to state news agency Antara.
“In reality the plan to mask the statue is still under discussion, as Anies himself is unaware of the initiative. Installing the mask is not even part of a public service campaign to obey health protocols by wearing masks.”
Jakarta Regional Legislative Council legislator from the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDIP) Gilbert Simanjuntak criticized the plan.
“A relatively small number of Jakartans pass the statue. Even then, most are commuting office workers,” he said.
“Most of them, slum dwellers, will not even get the message, which is symbolic at best.”
Gilbert urged city officials to step up their efforts to enlighten the public.
“The authorities should focus more on overcrowded slums and traditional markets. [Covid-19] transmission rates are high there because the locals often defy health protocols.”