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Speaker of the Regional Representatives Council (DPD), AA LaNyalla Mahmud Mattalitti. (ANTARA/HO-DPR RI) - 


Speaker of the Regional Representatives Council (DPD) AA LaNyalla Mahmud Mattalitti has asked the National Agency of Drug and Food Control (BPOM) to draft special rules or policies for the development of jamu (herbal medicines).

"The pandemic has opened up quite a large market opportunity for medicinal plants and traditional jamu. We must take advantage of this momentum, where 'back to nature' is currently a trend in society," he said in a press release received here on Friday.

The BPOM must make efforts and breakthroughs to help jamu develop, he stressed. One such effort is making particular policies or rules for the development of jamu.

Based on research data from the Ministry of Health, in 2017, there were 32 thousand traditional medicinal formulas and 2,848 types of plants identified as ingredients of traditional medicine.

It is sometimes difficult to do clinical trials on the efficacy of traditional jamu and herbs, Mattalitti said. Generally, traditional jamu formulas are inherited from generation to generation, and even made using unusual techniques that not everyone can perform, he noted.

This means that many traditional herbal ingredients can only be made by certain people and cannot be mass-produced, he pointed out. This makes it difficult to find empirical data, let alone conduct clinical trials, he said.

"Traditional herbs fall into the category of ancient formula, and of course, it is difficult for the BPOM to issue a distribution permit. Because this is cultural property and biodiversity. We hope that the BPOM will issue a policy with a separate clause and not use general rules like the production of other mass drugs," he added.

Mattalitti also urged the BPOM to collect documentation or empirical evidence on traditional ingredients or medicines.

Given the great potential, he said, the traditional medicine industry, especially units managed by MSMEs, deserves to be given the opportunity and assistance to develop.

Mattalitti also said he hopes that BPOM will conduct dissemination and communication more often about the standards and factors that MSMEs must meet related to the production of traditional medicines.

"The BPOM also needs to provide solutions that directly solve the problems faced by MSMEs, so that their production process is in accordance with the applicable regulations," he added//ANT



A screenshot of Health Ministry's spokesperson for COVID-19 vaccinations, Siti Nadia Tarmizi, holding an online press conference in Jakarta on Friday (September 10, 2021). (ANTARA/Andi Firdaus) - 

The new coronavirus variant—Mu or B.1621—has not been detected in Indonesia yet, a Health Ministry official said, referring to a sequencing report of 5,835 samples.

“As of today, we have reported that no less than 5,835 sequencing results, comprising 2,300 Delta variant, have been identified in 33 provinces,” the ministry’s spokesperson for COVID-19 vaccinations, Siti Nadia Tarmizi, disclosed during an online press conference here on Friday.

The ministry’s research and development agency, along with several laboratories of higher education institutions in Indonesia, is monitoring all variant appearances as per the WHO (World Health Organization) guidelines pertaining to mutation grouping based on either variant of concern (VoC) or Variant of Interest (VoI), she expounded.

VoC refers to a variant considered more threatening in terms of transmission or lethality and more resistant to either vaccine or treatment, she said. Meanwhile, VoI requires further investigation to understand its characteristics, she added.

Tarmizi noted that virus variants currently included in the VoI criteria along with Mu are Eta (B.1.525) that was first detected in some countries in December 2020; Lota (B.1.526), first detected in the United States on November 2020; Kappa (B.1617.1), first detected in India on October 2020; and Lambda (C.37), first detected in Peru on December 2020.

Meanwhile, the virus variants categorized as VoC comprise Alpha (B.117), which was first detected in Britain on September 2020; Beta (B.1.351, B.1.351.2, B.1.351.3), first detected in South Africa on May 2020; Gamma (P.1, P1.1, P.1.2), first detected in Brazil on November 2020; and Delta (B.1617.2, AY.1, AY.2, AY.3), first detected in India on October 2020.

“It is including local variant appeared in Indonesia. We are monitoring also the Mu variant currently spread in 46 countries. Until now, it is not detected yet in Indonesia,” Tarmizi said.

Since the Mu variant was investigated by the WHO on August 30, 2021, some experts have said that the variant is potentially immune to vaccine, she noted.

The Indonesian government is striving to prevent imported cases of the new variant by enforcing restrictions on the international quarantine policy for entry and exit testing as well as mandating all foreign travelers to get vaccinated, she added.

“We are coordinating with WHO to keep on updating the information pertaining to Mu variant and other variants potentially spread in Indonesia,” she noted//ANT


Religious Affairs Minister Yaqut Cholil Qoumas. (ANTARA/HO-Kemenag) - 

Religious Affairs Minister Yaqut Cholil Qoumas has said he expects the Free Halal Certification Program (Sehati) to help micro small entrepreneurs (MSEs) rise from the adversity caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

"The Free Halal Certification Program is a form of concern for the Religious Affairs Ministry for the people. Not only in matters of religion as its core business, but also about business sustainability for its people," he said in a written statement received in Jakarta on Friday.

The Religious Affairs Ministry launched the Free Halal Certification Program on Wednesday (September 8, 2021). The program is targeting MSEs  in the category of product types that are subject to the obligation to be certified halal; moreover, most of them do not have halal certification, the minister said.

The Free Halal Certification Program reflects the government's concern for the revival of MSEs for strengthening the foundation of the national economy, he added.

MSEs have played an extraordinary role in the national economy, he noted. Thus, their role must be continuously improved both in terms of productivity and competitiveness, he said.

"We are aware that in this pandemic situation, many businesses have ceased operating, and this Free Halal Certification is one of the breakthroughs to overcome business sluggishness," Qoumas stated.

In addition, by obtaining halal certification, the opportunity for MSE products to penetrate a wider market will broaden, he pointed out. Moreover, the government has continued to make efforts to support the penetration of MSE halal products into the international market through various collaborations, he added.

Today's global community equates halal products with quality and hygiene, the minister highlighted. Thus, it is not surprising that the growth of halal products has continued to increase, even becoming a global lifestyle (halal lifestyle), he said.

"Through this free halal certification, it is hoped that more MSEs can penetrate the global halal market," Qoumas asserted.

Earlier, acting head of the Halal Product Assurance Agency (BPJPH), Mastuki, said that halal products created within the national halal ecosystem have the potential to support increased trade performance.

"The size of Indonesia's halal ecosystem with the support of halal capital that we have, both human resources, social capital, demographic capital, and so on, we can be sure that our halal products have the potential to support the improvement of national trade performance," he explained.

Mastuki said the huge potential for Indonesian halal products is supported by infrastructure and halal chains that are connected from upstream to downstream. Halal certification is the intermediary item that connects the upstream halal industry with downstream markets between producers and consumers, he added.

This includes halal preparation materials produced by companies and the service industry and micro and small business actors who use halal materials as new products, he added//ANT


Official from the Ministry of Law and Human Rights Anom Wibowo. (ANTARA/HO-Humas DJKI/FR) - 

The Ministry of Law and Human Rights drew attention to the low intellectual property awareness among citizens that resulted in numerous related violations.

"Indonesia encounters numerous problems in its efforts to enforce the law related to intellectual property, which include low awareness among the people," the ministry's official, Anom Wibowo, noted in a written statement received here on Friday.

In order to address the issue, the Ministry's Directorate General of Intellectual Property (DJKI) has disseminated information in the physical market and in e-commerce or the digital market in the hopes that merchants would no longer sell counterfeit goods.

"This dissemination will be conducted until December 2021, and we will then enforce the law in January 2022," Wibowo remarked.

Wibowo highlighted that the program aims to offer people an opportunity to change their business.

He pointed out that Indonesia was already on the Office of the United States Trade Representative's (USTR's) priority watch list (PWL), a list of nations with a high level of intellectual property violations within the last 33 years.

To come off this list, the government had formed Indonesia's PWL Status Mitigation Operation Task Force in Intellectual Property that initially comprised 17 ministries or institutions, though now, it is just five, he remarked.

"This task force is expected to have a more effective and efficient impact in eradicating intellectual property violations," Wibowo emphasized.

In addition to the task force, the DJKI, through its Directorate of Dispute Solving and Investigation, coordinates with the intellectual property representatives in the ministry's regional offices in Indonesia's 31 provinces.

Thus, it annuls the need for citizens to file their complaints with the central government. Representatives in the region can take action or request for support from the central government to take action if the need arises.

Moreover, the DJKI is currently providing training and education to civil servant investigators (PPNS). By improving the quality of human resources, DJKI is optimistic of more cases of intellectual property violations being solved//ANT