JAKARTA, KOMPAS.com – President Joko Widodo has ordered aid and other emergency measures for East Nusa Tenggara be sent on the double, as the province continues to reel from the effects of extreme weather that left hundreds of people dead and missing.
And Indonesian National Police chief General Listyo Sigit Prabowo has revoked a police telegram that determines how the media should cover the police force.
This and more on this edition of Indonesia Highlights:
President Jokowi Orders Relief For NTT Province to Be Stepped Up
President Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo has ordered aid to East Nusa Tenggara province [NTT] to be stepped up, as the province continued to reel from flash floods, landslides and other natural disasters from Cyclone Seroja last weekend, which left hundreds dead and missing.
“I have asked Minister of Public Works and Housing or PUPR [Basuki Hadimuljono] to bring heavy machinery to pave a land route to the stricken parts [of NTT]. I also ordered air and sea routes to be prepared, in case land routes could not be penetrated,” said Jokowi on Tuesday.
Indonesian military chief Air Force Marshal Hadi Tjahjanto reiterated the president. “I have ordered the navy to deploy the KRI Oswald Siahaan-354, as well as two C-130 Hercules transport aircraft to provide supplies for those stricken by the flash floods in NTT.”
The National Agency for Disaster Countermeasures [BNPB] also deployed to NTT following Jokowi’s order to send more SAR [Search and Rescue] teams to areas stricken by flash floods and landslides, such as NTT’s Lembata and Adonara districts in Flores island.
“The flash floods and landslides killed at least 81 people and left 103 others missing. But this data is liable to change,” said BNPB head Doni Monardo.
“The flash floods also destroyed 500 homes and forced us to relocate hundreds of people. We also organized field kitchens in displaced persons at nearly every displaced persons camp.”
The evacuees included hundreds of people from two villages at the foothills of the Mount Ile Lewotolok volcano, 11 of whom were killed in a lava flood from the volcano last Sunday.
Two Indonesian Policemen Named as Suspects in the Killing of FPI Members
The Indonesian National Police has named two policemen as suspects in the ‘unlawful killing’ of four members of the Islamic Defenders Front or FPI at a toll road 50 kilometers outside Jakarta in December 2020, weeks before the government outlawed the organization.
“The Criminal Investigation Division [Bareskrim] has named the two policemen as suspects, after investigations at the crime scene determined that they killed the FPI men in their custody,” said Indonesian National Police spokesman Brigadier General Rusdi Hartono on Tuesday.
“Originally we named three policemen as suspects in the killing. But one of them, who was identified as EPZ, died in an accident at South Tangerang last January.” The police charged the policemen with committing murder or causing their deaths through mistreatment.
Investigators reached this conclusion, after a joint police and National Commission of Human Rights [Komnas HAM] investigation determined that the deaths of four out of six FPI members following their standoff with the police at the toll road was a human rights violation.
The police’s killing of the FPI members came before the controversial organization’s disbandment by the government at the end of 2020 for running counter to the state ideology Pancasila.
It also came before the police arrested and tried FPI head Rizieq Shihab for multiple violation of health protocols, following his return from exile in Saudi Arabia in November 2020
Indonesian National Police Chief Revokes Telegram on Police Coverage
Indonesian National Police Chief Genera Listyo Sigit Prabowo has revoked a telegram on how the media should cover crime, hours after the message provoked an outcry from the press.
“I would like to apologize to the media over the misunderstanding surrounding the telegram,” said Sigit of the guideline, which determines how violent crimes and actions are portrayed by the media.
“We need constructive criticism from the media and our external partners to carry out oversight of the police.” He maintained that the telegram is more for internal use “to discourage the police personnel from carrying out police brutality or acting in an arbitrary, highhanded manner.”
Sigit added that the telegram is designed to make the police carry out their work “with a firm hand that is in line with standard operating procedures, yet enforce the law with a humane manner,” he maintained.
“But media coverage often showed the police acting in a highhanded manner, which might undo the police’s effort to improve its image and services. So I urge the police to be exercise more restraint, as their actions are closely scrutinized by the public in general and the media in particular.”
President Joko Widodo appointed Listyo Sigit Prabowo as head of the Indonesian National Police last January, replacing his predecessor Idham Azis.
He has made hearts and minds on top of the police’s agenda, namely through measures such as restorative justice, or bringing the offender and victim together to raise the offenders’ awareness of the consequences of their crime, and how it affected their victims.