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Editorial (802)

31
August


Over the past two months of implementing Community Activity  Restrictions (PPKM) in  Java and Bali, Monday evening President Joko Widodo announced improvements in handling the Covid-19 pandemic. Although the PPKM remains in effect until September 6, there are some favours of various fields.

Positive data on the transmission of Covid-19 until Monday evening (30/8) showed a number that was far below the positive number in mid-July to mid-August. Yesterday, the number of confirmed positive reached 5,436 within a day. This figure is far below the confirmed figure that has reached more than 57,000 within a day.

President Joko Widodo also remarked that the national hospital bed occupancy rate was only 27 percent. This progress is certainly welcomed by the community. It can be imagined that people may return to their normal activities. They can go to earn a living without any more barriers on the road. School children can go back to school to share face-to-face learnings. In fact, the Banten provincial government has announced that it will implement face-to-face learnings starting from September 1 tomorrow for Senior High Schools or High Vocational Schools -SMA/SMK.

This improving pandemic situation shows that so far, the policies implemented by the Indonesian government have been viewed appropriately and have brought about good results. The health protocols were successfully enforced. About 96.5 million vaccines have been injected to Indonesian citizens. Vaccination continues to be accelerated and supportey a lot of related stakeholders. The health system is not collapsing. This is evidenced by the occupancy rate of hospital beds which continues to decline. The number of deaths due to Covid-19 continues to decline, along with the increase in the number of recoveries.

However, President Joko Widodo reminded the public not to be careless and keep being cautious in responding to this improving trend. He also affirmed that the Indonesian nation must take important lessons from the Covid-19 pandemic situation experienced by various countries. Several countries, where 60% of the populations have been vaccinated, are still undergoing a surge in the transmission of Covid-19 cases. This happens because the community disobeys being disciplined in implementing the set health protocols.

Admittedly, the cooperation of all parties is the main requirement to shake off from this pandemic. The public must continue to apply health protocols. The government should accelerate the vaccination program, and maintain the health system. However, the government must not be careless with hoaxes related to the pandemic and vaccines that still exist today. The key to breaking these hoaxes is to establish good communication between the government and the public. This communication is so essential so that the public fully understand the government's program related to the Covid-19 pandemic. As a result, they are not easily carried away by hoaxes.

30
August


The Indonesian Government through the Ministry of Communication and Informatics has launched the PeduliLindungapplication since March 2020 which  has been downloaded more than 4.5 million times. The application is now a requirement for everybody to travel in all modes of transportation starting  Saturday 28 August 2021.

Minister of Communications and Informatics, Johnny G Plate in a press release said that the PeduliLindung application aims to implement tracing, tracking, and fencing by integrating digital technology to fight against Covid-19 nationally. It contains information on vaccine registration, digital passports, travel history, to screening for public areas, such as airports and monitoring arrivals from abroad and cross-border posts. In addition, this application is even integrated into doctor consultation services or telemedicine. Users can do virtual health consultations through this application.

The Ministry of Transportation also supports the PeduliLindung application in all modes of transportation as a travel requirement. All Directors General of the Ministry of Transportation have been asked to draw up rules to prepare both in terms of systems and procedures. Thereby,  it can be implemented immediately by the organizers of transportation facilities and infrastructure, whether managed by the Ministry of Transportation, State-Owned Enterprises, or the private sector.

Minister of Health, Budi Gunadi Sadikin said that by using this application, it can be ensured that only healthy passengers can get on the plane. All data on passengers who have vaccinated and got PCR/antigen checks are stored safely in the Ministry of Health  big data named New All Record or NAR. This checking mechanism with NAR big data will also be carried out at the time of booking tickets on airlines, both offline and online. This rule will also be extended to land and sea transportation modes in the near future.

The government's efforts in implementing the PeduliLindung application certainly need to be supported so that it can run well. Transportation is one of the important sectors for community mobility amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Transportation hubs, such as terminals, stations, ports and airports are part of the Government's filter to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

It is hoped that the results of this tracing can make it easier for the government to identify who needs further treatment to stop the spread of Covid-19. The more public participate in using this application, The more people participate in using this application, this will further assist the government in tracing and tracking.

Confidentiality  of Personal data in the PeduliLindung application is stored securely in an encrypted format and will not be shared with others. Data will only be accessed if it is known that the user is at risk of contracting Covid-19 and needs to be immediately contacted by health workers.

27
August

 

August 31, 2021, which is the deadline for foreign troops withdrawal from Afghanistan, is only a matter of days. Many people worry about the future of Afghanistan after the country is controlled by the hardline Islamist group, the Taliban.

Last Sunday, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation or OIC held an Executive Committee level extraordinary meeting at its  headquarters in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, specifically to discuss the current situation in Afghanistan.

As  results of the meeting, the OIC called for Afghanistan not to become a refuge for terrorists. It  also encourages inclusive dialogue to address the Afghanistan crisis.

Not only the OIC, concerns about the future of Afghanistan were also stated  by a number of international organizations such as the United Nations security council, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) up to the G7.

They question is,  will Al-Qaeda seize  the momentum   to consolidate itself with  the potential to become a global terror threat? Because it is known that when the Taliban came to power in 1996 to 2001, Al-Qaeda got a breath of fresh air and became a threat to many parties.

As the Associated Press noted, the OIC's concerns are not without reason. The terrorist group operating in Afghanistan is not only Al-Qaeda, but there is also the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). This group is known not  really in line with the Taliban.  However, their  acts of terror in the past have shocked the world.

So it is natural that at this time the international community is not fully confident in the ability of the Taliban to guarantee and ensure that Afghanistan will be clean of the world's terrorist groups and seeds.

The OIC's call for Afghanistan not to become a base for terrorist organizations is very appropriate. Considering that the OIC was born from a collection of Islamic countries that are committed to helping Muslim communities around the world, including in Afghanistan, achieve peace, security, stability, and development.

26
August

 

The Covid-19 pandemic has brought about a great influence towards education in the world, including in Indonesia. To prevent the virus spreading among students and teachers, classes are held online. In Indonesia, the online class or called "PJJ" has been ensuring the learning process continues. 

After one year, the end of the pandemic is still unknown. Meanwhile, online classes have caused some negative impacts. One of which is learning loss that happens across the world. A study found that face-to-face class results in better academic achievement than online classes. Some other impacts are various social issues, such as domestic violence against children. Many students also faced difficulties in joining the online classes. 

A survey by the Education and Culture Ministry's Policy Research Center in 2021 found that being hard to concentrate and limited internet are the greatest issues faced by the students during online classes.

Considering the negative impacts, many students and their parents are waiting for the face-to-face class again. Currently, the Level 3 social restriction allows a limited face-to-face class. President Joko Widodo on Thursday (19/8) as quoted from merdeka.com said that he will allow the face-to-face class if they have been vaccinated.

How do schools respond to this?

Data from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Research, and Technology, some 63 percent of schools in Indonesia can have a limited face-to-face class. But only 26 percent did it. The rest were faced with regional government's permits. Many regions are reluctant to give permits even if their regions are level 3. This reluctance might be because of being careful and every region has different conditions.

Whatever the reason is, the regional government needs to realize the face-to-face class so that the negative impacts will not happen again.

The 26 percent schools that had done it are expected to follow very strict health protocols and the number of students in the classroom must be limited. To ensure this, monitoring by every regional government is necessary.

25
August

 

Inevitably, almost every conflict or war in one country has an impact on other countries. This can be seen at least from the increasing number of refugees in various places. Conflicts in several African countries, have caused displacement. Chaos in Armenia Azerbaijan, has the same impact. Syria, which has always been hit by civil war, has troubled other countries, including Europe, because of the flood of refugees. Rohingya refugees are also a clear example of the internal turmoil in Myanmar. And lastly is Afghanistan.

Thousands of Afghans have been transported by plane out of their country, while many others have flooded Kabul's International Airport. News in the international mass media repeatedly broadcast the situation at Hamid Karzai airport, Kabul. Everything gives an idea of how chaotic and depressing the atmosphere there is. It also illustrates how suffering those who try to escape from their homeland are. Several countries have expressed their willingness to accept Afghan refugees, including the United States. It was reported that these Afghan refugees not only flooded the airport in Kabul, but also spread across the borders with other countries, including Pakistan, Uzbekistan and others. Unlike the United States, Canada and several European countries, the neighboring countries readiness to accept refugees from Afghanistan is constrained due to the conditions of their respective countries.

Tensions at Kabul's international airport have increased with the deadline for the withdrawal of US troops, which is August 31, 2021. Meanwhile, the Taliban has said it does not want the United States to extend that time. The fate of Afghan refugees then, seems to be more concerning because of it.

The issue of refugees due to civil war or conflict has finally become a problem for other countries. UNHCR, the UN agency that handles refugees, is trying to help overcome this problem in various countries, especially those on the borders. UNHCR has established many shelters and provided food aid.

Of course, it is not so simple to blame certain parties as the cause of thousands or even millions of refugees who fled their country. Because the situation is pretty complex. But what is really more important is, how to deal with the millions of people who have already fled and prevent more refugees from happening.

24
August

 

Today, August 24 is a historic day in the journey of television broadcasting in Indonesia. Television of the Republic of Indonesia –TVRI officially broadcast its first broadcast on August 24, 1962. The first broadcast of TVRI was marked by the premiere of the 4th Asian Games at the Bung Karno Main Stadium in Jakarta. For a quarter of a century, broadcasters established under the Decree of the Minister of Information No.20/SK/VII/61 broadcast television programs without competition.

In 1987, the first private television station, RCTI officially was on air. This was followed by SCTV which aired in 1990. These two commercial broadcasting stations were established on the same date, 24 August. Afterwards, the world of television broadcasting in Indonesia was increasingly widespread with the presence of more television stations with their respective target audiences. Quoting digital broadcast.kominfo.go.id, in 2021, the number of television stations broadcasting analogously in Indonesia reaches 701. It is hoped that by November 2022, Indonesia will fully implement the Digital TV broadcasting system.

The government through the Ministry of Communication and Informatics is modernizing Indonesian television broadcasts by switching from analog broadcast to digital one. The original plan was that the initial phase of Analog Switch-Off (ASO) or the cessation of analog TV broadcasts began on August 17, 2021. With some considerations, the plan is postponed to April 2022. The considerations underlying the delay are that Indonesia is still focusing on handling the Covid-19 pandemic and economic recovery as well as further preparation stages. In the future, Indonesian people can continue to enjoy free digital television broadcasts to get very clear picture quality, clear sound, and sophisticated technology

Currently, the way to watch television programs is no longer sitting in front of the television. With streaming or video on demand broadcast facilities broadcast on the official website of television broadcasting stations and various platforms, Indonesian television programs can be enjoyed anywhere and anytime with an internet connection. This is also a challenge for television broadcasting stations. Because they have to compete with individual or group creations that produce audio-visual shows. But at the same time, it is an opportunity for Indonesian television broadcasters to widely spread their broadcasts.

Within nearly 60 years of Indonesian television broadcasting, there is hope for Indonesian television programs to go global. Indonesia has the possibility to do so. The diversity of art, culture, customs and natural charm of Indonesia can be an amazing attraction for television programs for the world community. If it is realized, the potential of natural and human resources, combined with digital technology, is possible; in its time, Indonesian television programs to be presented attractively will be enjoyed by the international community.

23
August

 

Indonesia's Competitiveness Ranking in 2021 slightly increased from its position compared in 2020, which was ranked 40. The 2021 World Competitiveness Yearbook (WCY) survey conducted by the Institute Management Development (IMD) puts Indonesia's competitiveness at 37th out of a total of 64 countries recorded. The survey in Indonesia was carried out by the Management Institute of the Faculty of Economics and Business, University of Indonesia, which has  acted as IMD's partner in Indonesia over the last five years.

According to the Management Institute, the results of the ranking assessment are based on a data analysis on Indonesia's economic performance until 2020 and the assessment of business actors regarding the perception of the business environment they are facing. Meanwhile, the competitiveness assessment method is based on the assessment of 4 main components including, Economic Performance, Government Efficiency, Business Efficiency, and Infrastructure.

The survey results show that there is an increase in Indonesia's ranking on the components of government and business efficiency. The government's efficiency rating has increased from 31st in 2020 to 26th in 2021. It is stated that the public financial policy factor, which is quite effective in responding to pandemic conditions, is a component that supports this rating increase.

Meanwhile, the business efficiency component increased from 31st in 2020 to 25th in 2021 due to optimism for future business transformation.

However, unlike the efficiency of government and business, the performance of the economy and infrastructure has decreased. Indonesia's economic performance ranking in 2021 is at position 35th, a decrease compared to 2020  which was at position 26th. The downgrade is driven by labor conditions, international trade, and domestic price levels. Indonesia's infrastructure ranking has also shifted from position 55th in 2020 to position 57th in 2021, due to the readiness factor for health and education infrastructure in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Covid-19 pandemic has brought about a significant impact on the decline in economic and infrastructure performance which is an important component in the assessment of competitiveness rankings. Hopefully, the well-managed handling of Covid-19, especially the acceleration of vaccination which is being carried out by the  government, will be able to make Indonesia's competitiveness ranking improved this year. Even so, it will be better next year.

20
August

 

After 20 years of war, the Taliban managed to wrest power from the Afghan government, which is strongly backed by the United States and its allies. The world was flabbergasted. Some are even trying to digest the fact that Kabul has fallen into the hands of the Taliban. Some are pessimistic about the future of Afghanistan, but others are trying to be realistic.

Since Monday 16 August 2021, the day after the Taliban occupied Kabul, the group has continued to try to change its political style and shift from physical combat to diplomacy. The Taliban continue to try to convince the world of the legitimacy of their rule.

Quoting ANTARA / at a press conference / Taliban's main spokesman Zahibullah Muhajid asked the international community to recognize their rule over Afghanistan. Muhajid also made many promises, including that everyone would be forgiven even those who had worked with the previous government or with foreign governments. The Taliban also promised to respect women's rights but within the norms of Islamic law.

The question is, will the Taliban change and fulfill its promises?

US President Joe Biden said the Taliban would never change, especially regarding the group's basic principles. Although the Taliban vowed to implement a more open government and guarantee women's rights, Biden is pessimistic that the group can implement a democratic system in Afghanistan. Biden insists that economic and diplomatic pressure, not military force, is needed to ensure the Taliban protect and guarantee women's rights in Afghanistan.

The concern of the Afghan people over the rule of the Taliban is very understandable, given the past history. Not only the Afghan people, the world also asks the Taliban to show through concrete actions, not only promises and statements. So they can dispel the fear of many people about the guarantee of freedom and security in the country.

If Biden is pessimistic, then UNICEFF is not. The UN agency which deals with aid for children around the world, is optimistic that it can cooperate with the Taliban, especially in supporting education for children and women.

The Taliban are currently in the euphoria of victory and will continue to speak in an idealistic setting. But they should not only promise. The words must be realized in order to be able to create a positive image that is far from violence. So that they can get recognition and support of the international community.

19
August

 

Right after celebrating Independence Day, Indonesians commemorate Constitution Day every August 18. Back in 1945, after proclaiming independence, Indonesians announced the birth of the 1945 Constitution as the legal basis for the country. The 1945 Constitution is the highest law in Indonesia where almost all legal products always refer to the contents of the 1945 Constitution. The journey of the 1945 Constitution is quite long in the history of the Indonesian state.It was amended the first time during the reformation era, after the New Order fell in 1999. Many later wanted the 1945 Constitution to be changed back into its original version.

Chairperson of the People's Consultative Assembly –MPR, Bambang Soesatyo in the Constitution Day commemoration on Wednesday (18/8) said although the position and authority of the MPR had changed a lot, the soul of this institution that was created by the nation's founders must not change. Therefore, the Assembly must keep bridging people's aspirations from all regions and prioritizing political ethics, by always trying to create a harmony among socio-political powers and groups of interests to justly achieve national advancement.

Meanwhile, Speaker of the House of Representatives –DPR, Puan Maharani said that the 1945 Constitution is the highest law and basis for all state administrators in decision making. It contains the guarantee for the constitutional rights of all citizens, including the health and economic rights during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The 1945 Constitution has been amended four times. One of the fundamental changes was the position of People's Consultative Assembly, that now can only inaugurate the president and vice president elected by the people.

Despite the amendment, four pillars of the nation: the 1945 Constitution, Pancasila, Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia, and Unity in Diversity or Bhinneka Tunggal Ika are non-negotiable. They are the main soul of every Indonesian. Indonesians must also remember that one of the goals of gaining independence is to achieve people's prosperity and social justice. Therefore, the 1945 Constitution gives authority for the state or the government to do something in order to achieve the prosperity and justice.

18
August

 

The deadline for the withdrawal of US troops and their allies from Afghanistan is not yet over,  but the Taliban has been able to control the country. Taliban leaders and troops, managed easily to  enter Kabul and the Presidential Palace. President Ashraf Gani himself had left without  being known his whereabout.

After that, the Taliban immediately took over the government radio and television. Through the national media, the new head of TV and Radio, Maulvi Ishaq Nizami, stated that the Taliban government granted amnesty to all government officials and employees. According to him, they can carry out their duties without worry and fear.

Under the latest   conditions, many  non-Taliban Afghans must be gripped by fear and uncertainty. Thousands of them, especially those living in Kabul, ran to the airport and scrambled to board planes to leave the country. As reported by various mass media, they consist of young and old, even children, with frightened faces, worried about their fate and future.

In response to the end of the US and Western-backed Ashraf Gani administration, Russia and China have stated that they  would  continue to operate their embassies in Kabul. Meanwhile, Iran views that the existing momentum can be a driving force for the unity of all groups in Afghanistan. Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi stated this in a phone  call to his Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. On the other hand, from London it was reported, British Foreign Secretary Ben Wallace said that his government would not send troops back to Afghanistan. Wallace acknowledged that the Taliban had taken control of Afghanistan, and that this was recognized as a failure by the international community.

So, how about the United States? Joe Bidden insisted that his troop withdrawal was the right decision. Responding to criticism from Donald Trump, Bidden said he remained firm in his stance. However, regarding the latest developments, he had expressed his concerns. He promised to ensure that even under the rule of the Taliban, the rights of women and children would be protected. In its previous reign, before being overthrown by the US and its allies 20 years ago, the Taliban enforced Islamic law that was stricter than any other Islamic country around the world. They require women to wear full body coverings including the face (burqa), and are not allowed to appear and go out in public places, as well as limiting their education.

Of course, it is not only women who are worried, but also other Afghans. The reinstatement of the Taliban in Afghanistan, of course, immediately gave rise to new rulers who said they would implement their version of Islamic law. Very likely, there will be no more general elections. If this is the case, it is still uncertain how the reconciliation process between the various interests in the country will occur.

China and Russia and Iran, which have welcomed the presence of the Taliban, of course on the basis of their respective interests in Afghanistan, cannot yet be seen  as what their next steps will be. Afghanistan is known for its rich mineral resources. In addition, its geographical location is also very strategic and can connect China and Russia to Europe and the surrounding countries. This seems to have led the two countries, plus Afghanistan's other neighbour, Iran, to pay particular attention to the Taliban.

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