JAKARTA, KOMPAS.com – For two consecutive weeks, Indonesia’s Corruption Eradication Commission, or known by its acronym KPK, has named two cabinet ministers as suspects in different alleged graft cases.
Last week, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister Edhy Prabowo was arrested over lobster seed export. Edhy then immediately tendered his resignation letter to President Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo.
In the early hours of Sunday, Social Affairs Minister Juliari P Batubara, along with four others, were suspected of alleged involvement in the graft case related to Covid-19 social assistance.
KPK chairman Firli Bahuri said that Juliari had allegedly accepted about 17 billion rupiahs ($1.2 million) in bribes. He was accused of receiving fees from the companies that distributed staple food packages to the poor. The government-led program to alleviate the burden of the people during the Covid-19 pandemic was done by the ministry and vendors from the private sector.
Meanwhile, 245 illegal Indonesian migrant workers (PMI) have been deported from Malaysia for violating immigration laws and for their involvement in other crimes.
During the process, one of the migrant workers was sent to the Port Health Authority and the Covid-19 Task Force for further treatment after the results of the rapid test was reactive.
Below are excerpts from the stories in Indonesia, curated by Kompas.com editors:
1. Indonesian Minister Named as Suspect in Covid-19 Social Aid Graft
Indonesia’s Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) on Sunday named Social Affairs Minister Juliari P Batubara as a suspect in an alleged graft case related to the Covid-19 social assistance.
Juliari has been named as the suspect following a sting operation carried out by the KPK in early Friday.
State News Antara reported that Juliari arrived in the KPK building on Sunday at around 2.45am local time. Clad in a black jacket, brown pants, a black hat, and a mask, the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) politician was accompanied by several KPK officers when entering the building.
Juliari had allegedly accepted about 17 billion rupiahs ($1.2 million) in bribes, which was allegedly used for personal purposes, KPK said.
“The KPK has named five suspects. The alleged bribe-takers are JPB, MJS, and AW. While the alleged bribe givers comprise AIM and HS,” KPK chairman Firli Bahuri told a press conference in the early hours of Sunday, December 6.
Firli said that MJS and AW serve as the Commitment Making Officials at the Social Affairs Ministry, while AIM and HS are the representatives of the private sector.
A total of 245 illegal Indonesian migrant workers (PMI) have been deported from Malaysia through the border crossing inspection posts in Sarawak’s Tebedu and West Kalimantan’s Entikong on Saturday, December 5.
Andi Kusuma Irfandi, head of Protection and Empowerment Section at the Agency for the Protection of Indonesian Migrant Workers (BP2MI) in Kalimantan said the 245 illegal PMIs have failed to show their passports and working visas.
“They have committed various violations, including immigration laws. Of the total number, 130 people have no passports, while 92 others have misused the work visas,” Andi told Kompas.com on December 6.
He said the other PMIs were reported to have been involved in online gambling, drug abuse, and running away from the employers due to unpaid wages.
“A total of 116 PMIs came from West Kalimantan and 30 others from East Java,” he said.
Meanwhile, as a medical examination was carried out during the deportation process, one migrant worker from outside West Kalimantan was found to be reactive after taking the Covid-19 rapid test.
Andi explained that the case has been handled by the Port Health Authority in Entikong and West Kalimantan Covid-19 Task Force for a quarantine process while waiting for the swab test results.
3. Thousands Flee as Flooding in Indonesia’s North Aceh Spreads
Thousands of residents in North Aceh regency fled their homes as flooding soaks some 10 sub-districts on Sunday, December 6.
The people are now taking refuge in various places, including mosques and streets that have not been inundated.
Amir Hamzah, North Aceh Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD) head, told reporters at one of the flood-hit zones that four inflatable rescue boats are on standby in Lhoksukon city.
“Inflatable rescue boats that belong to the Navy, Water and Air Police Unit (Polairud) have already been prepared in some inundated sub-districts,” Amir said.
He said that the rubber boat team was tasked with evacuating the residents who were trapped in floods.
He called on the motorists who will travel from Medan in North Sumatra to Banda Aceh to be careful on the roads. The authority has deployed teams to the affected areas to guide the motorists.
“The water level reaches a meter to two meters. So, we urge you to be careful,” he said.
The floods began on Saturday after the two rivers, Krueng Keureuto and Krueng Peuto, overflowed. Besides, the intensity of rain remains high in the North Aceh regency. It is predicted that the flooding could spread to more areas.
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