JAKARTA, KOMPAS.com – The Indonesian government might receive the thanks of millions of Indonesians sick and tired of the Islamic Defenders Front [FPI], after they finally outlawed the infamous hard-line organization after it first appeared in Indonesian politics in 1998.
Yet legislators, civil society groups and the media are not so upbeat, after they accused President Joko Widodo’s administration of trampling freedom of speech in its efforts to take down the militant organization.
Indonesia is set to begin mass Covid-19 vaccinations, with the first 40 million people to get the treatment between January 15 to 25, 2021.
And last but not least, Indonesian’s preeminent medical group, the Indonesian Doctors Association or IDI disclosed the ravages that Covid-19 wreaked on the profession.
IDI noted that the coronavirus have killed over 500 medical workers, nearly a year after it was first detected in Indonesia in March 2020. Read on to get more details of these and other news:
Indonesian National Police Under Fire for FPI Circular
Parliament, civil society groups and the media are up in arms over an Indonesian National Police circular outlawing the Islamic Defenders Front [ FPI], after one of its points was deemed to undermine freedom of speech.
Lower House legislator Arsul Sani urged the police to take the back the point that threatened prosecution for “accessing, downloading, and distributing the FPI’s content through websites or social media,” he noted.
“The police need to elaborate this point, because its open ended nature is liable to be misused or misinterpreted”. Arsul added that the document is more suited internally for the police instead of the public.
Indonesian press organizations, among them the Alliance of Independent Journalists [AJI], the Editor-in Chief Forum [Forum Pemimpin Redaksi], and Indonesian Cyber Media Association [AMSI], strongly criticized the article.
The groups said the article contradicted Indonesia’s 1999 Press Law, which stated that the “press has the right to search, obtain and disseminate ideas and information.” They also view the article as ‘a ban,’ that stands against Article 4 paragraph 2 that outlawed ‘delaying or obstructing coverage,’
But the Police stood by the article, Police spokesman Inspector General Argo Yuwono maintained that they “will not object if the public accessed [FPI’s] content, as long as they do not use it for misinformation, cause disturbances, or create division.”
40 Million Indonesians to Receive First Covid-19 Vaccinations
The Indonesian Ministry of Health is set to vaccinate more than 40 million people in the first stage of mass vaccinations against Covid-19 between January 15 to 25 2021.
“The first stage will be given to around 1.3 million medical workers as well as 17.4 million officials. The next group will be 21.5 million elderly aged 60 and over,” said Ministry of Health spokesperson Dr. Siti Nadia Tarmizi.
She added that the second stage, which lasts from April 2021 to March 2022, will focus on members of the public between the ages of 18 to 59 and others.
“63.9 million of the vaccines are earmarked for those in society that we deemed vulnerable to Covid-19, while 77.4 million vaccines are set aside for those who acquired Covid-19 from clusters. However, this depends on the availability of the vaccine.”
Nadia added that the vaccine’s use on comorbid recipients with one or more pre-existing conditions are also pending.
She also asserted that the Ministry will send messages for those eligible to receive the vaccines. Indonesia also ordered vaccines from pharmaceutical companies like CanSino, AstraZeneca, and Novavax.
Indonesian Medical Workers Suffer Highest Covid-19 Death Rate in Asia
The Indonesian Doctors Association has announced that Covid-19 has taken a toll on the country’s health workers, as the pandemic killed 504 professionals in the sector since it was first detected in Indonesia last March.
“The number of fatalities among Indonesia’s health workers are among, if not the highest, in Asia,” said IDI spokesman Adib Khumaidi in a press release on Saturday, January 2. “52 of them died in December.”
“The number also makes Indonesia among the top five countries in the world with the highest Covid-19 deaths among medical workers.”
Adib noted that doctors make up the majority of deaths with 237, followed by nurses with 171. He added that most of the dead come from East Java province with 101, followed by Jakarta with 68.
Adib continued his bleak report by adding that the risk of Covid-19 transmission in Indonesia is the highest yet with a 29.4 percent positive ratio. He urged more compliance with health protocols to contain the pandemic.
Indonesia has 758,473 Covid-19 cases since the virus was detected in Indonesia in March 2020.
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