Would you like to read more?Register for free to finish this article.Sign up now for the following benefits:Four FREE articles of your choice per monthBreaking news, comment and analysis from industry experts as it happensChoose from our portfolio of email newsletters To access this article REGISTER NOWWould you like print copies, app and digital replica access too? SUBSCRIBE for as little as £5 per week.
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has issued a presidential regulation (Perpres) turning the Hindu Dharma State Institute (IHDN) in Denpasar, Bali into the country’s first Hindu state university.The regulation stated that the new university, named I Gusti Bagus Sugriwa State Hindu University (UHN), would “administer Hindu higher education programs” as well as other types of higher education programs “to support Hindu higher education programs.”Through the regulation, which was enacted last week, all current IHDN students are converted to UHN students, and all the institute’s assets and employees are transferred to the newly formed university. “The change in status has been declared through a Perpres and is just awaiting the handover from the central government. I am very happy and thankful,” IHDN rector I Gusti Ngurah Sudiana said in a statement on the institute’s official website on Friday. The institute itself started out as a state academy for Hindu religion teachers in 1993, before being converted into the Hindu Religion State College in 1999, and then into the IHDN in 2004.Sudiana said the regulation marked a historic moment for the Hindu faithful in Indonesia.“Clearly this shows that President Jokowi has given special attention to Hindu educational institutions in Bali in order to improve the quality of our human capital,” he said. “Because of that, we should use this moment to move toward excellent human capital in Bali in the future.” (kmt)Topics :
Read also: No EV? Park outside new capital city and take public transportationThe government has placed the total cost of the capital’s development at Rp 466 trillion (US$33.7 billion). Around 54.4 percent will come from public-private partnerships, 26.4 percent from the private sector and just 19.2 percent from the state budget.Of the 30 investors, Luhut went on to say, five represented companies from the transportation sector, one from the telecommunications sector, six from the industrial sector, four that operated in retail and one in the housing sector.There are also four companies that are interested in drinking water development, three in providing electricity, one in providing waste management and one company in offering health-related services. Some are hoping to participate in the new capital’s pooling fund, including three international institutions offering their services for sovereign wealth funds, one for bilateral funds, five companies for securities and one company for insurance products. Luhut said the development of the new capital city would encourage partnerships between the public sector, private sector, universities and state-owned enterprises, in which each would have different roles. “Government buildings will be developed using the state budget. We will give entertainment, education and health to the private sector to develop.”Read also: New capital city development requires 300,000 construction workersIndonesia’s new capital will be developed as a smart, compact forest city that will follow the principles of sustainability.The government’s focus for 2020 is preparing a master plan and technical plan and procuring land. The construction of government buildings and other major facilities will take place from 2022 to 2024.The government is set to conduct a soft groundbreaking in July to start building road access to the city. The relocation will start in 2024. More than 30 local and foreign investors have expressed an interest in developing Indonesia’s new capital city in North Penajam Paser and Kutai Kertanegara in East Kalimantan, according to a top government official.“We want all of them to be high-quality partners because I don’t want non-green [investment] in the new capital city,” Coordinating Maritime and Investment Affairs Minister Luhut Pandjaitan said during a seminar about the new capital’s development in Jakarta on Wednesday. He added that the investors were from Singapore, Japan, the United States and the United Arab Emirates, among other countries. Topics :
Donald Trump had advice Wednesday for people worried by the coronavirus: be a germophobe like him.Frequent hand-washing has long been a quirk of the real estate billionaire and Republican president.He said his habit is exactly what’s needed for protecting against the easily spread and potentially fatal coronavirus. “He hugs me. I said ‘are you well?’ He said ‘no, I have the worst fever and the worst flu.’ And he’s hugging and kissing me,” Trump recounted, acting out the encounter for journalists.”So I said ‘excuse me.’ I went and started washing my hands.” “I do it a lot anyway as you probably heard,” he told a press conference in the White House, triggering laughter.”Wash your hands, stay clean. You don’t have to necessarily grab every handrail unless you have to,” Trump said. “When somebody sneezes, I try to bail out.”Trump recounted a recent close encounter with someone who was sick — and how he dealt with it.”I had a man came up to me a week ago. I hadn’t seen him in a long time. I said, ‘how you doing?’ He said ‘fine, fine.’ Topics :
Motorcycle attack The Doha deal includes a commitment to swap 5,000 Taliban prisoners held by the Afghan government in return for 1,000 captives, but Ghani said the US had no authority to negotiate such an exchange.”Ghani’s stand shows that the Americans hadn’t done the groundwork before signing the agreement,” a Taliban source in Pakistan said.Analyst Michael Kugelman from the Wilson Center think-tank said he was not surprised the Taliban were on the offensive again.”Remember, violence is leverage for the Taliban. It won’t easily give it up,” he tweeted.”And now it’s exploiting that leverage to strengthen its bargaining position going into the intra-Afghan dialogue, when [and if] it begins.”According to Khost police chief Sayed Ahmad Babazai, the blast at the football match killed three people and wounded 11 others.”A motorcycle rigged with a bomb exploded,” Babazai told AFP. Abdul Fatah Wakman, president of the Khost Football Federation, told AFP the three people killed were brothers.Since the deal signing, the Taliban have been publicly claiming “victory” over the US.Under the terms of the deal, foreign forces will quit Afghanistan within 14 months, subject to Taliban security guarantees and a pledge by the insurgents to hold talks with Kabul.While supporters of the accord say it marks a critical first step toward peace, many Afghans fear it amounts to little more than a US capitulation that will ultimately see the insurgents return to power.In the eastern province of Laghman, thousands of locals and jubilant Taliban fighters massed on Monday to celebrate what they called their “defeat of the US”.They also vowed to continue operations against the Afghan government until an “Islamic system” of government is restored. The Taliban ruled most of Afghanistan from 1996-2001 under an extreme interpretation of Islam. Topics : The partial truce between the US, the insurgents and Afghan forces lasted for the week running up to the signing of the US-Taliban accord in Doha on Saturday, and was extended over the weekend.”The reduction in violence… has ended now and our operations will continue as normal,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told AFP.”As per the [US-Taliban] agreement, our mujahideen will not attack foreign forces but our operations will continue against the Kabul administration forces.”The Taliban’s military commission circulated instructions for fighters to resume operations, according to a document that an insurgent provided to AFP. Soon after, an Afghan army commander told AFP that the Taliban were attacking army positions in the northwest province of Badghis. At least one soldier was killed.President Ashraf Ghani said Sunday he would continue the partial truce at least until talks between Afghan officials and the Taliban kick off, supposedly on March 10, though he angered the militants by rejecting a prisoner swap component in the deal. Fawad Aman, a defense ministry spokesman, said Monday the government was “checking to see if [the truce] had ended”.The United States said it was unclear who was behind the blast at the football ground, and cautioned that an immediate halt to violence had not been expected.”The Taliban is not a monolithic group, there’s multiple terrorist organizations operating,” General Mark Milley, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, said in Washington.”To think that [violence] is going to go to zero, immediately — that’s probably not going to be the case.”The US has previously said it would defend Afghan partners if they come under attack. A deadly blast shattered a period of relative calm in Afghanistan on Monday and the Taliban ordered fighters to resume operations against Afghan forces just two days after signing a deal to usher in peace.No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack at a football ground in Khost in eastern Afghanistan, where three brothers were killed, officials told AFP.The blast occurred around the same time the Taliban ordered fighters to recommence attacks against Afghan army and police forces, apparently ending an official “reduction in violence” that had seen a dramatic drop in bloodshed and given Afghans a welcome taste of peace.
Tourists may no longer be able to visit a former Vietnamese refugee camp on Galang Island, Batam, Riau Islands because the government has built a hospital for COVID-19 patients on the site.Each month, about 6,000 people usually visit the 80-hectare former refugee camp. Most of them were once camp inmates who had become successful in their new countries.The camp’s field coordinator, Said Adnan, said so far there had not been any official instruction to close the former refugee camp to tourists. However, he said tourists might no longer want to visit the camp since the government constructed a hospital for COVID-19 patients in the area.Read also: ‘They should ask us first’: Locals demur as govt plans infectious diseases hospital”Indonesian military commanders have visited the camp several times, but so far there has not been an order to close the camp to the public. We still have no idea whether there would be a special area designated for the hospital or not, but tourists would certainly be hesitant to visit the camp once the hospital starts operating,” Said told The Jakarta Post on Thursday.The camp was used between 1975 and 1996 to house 250,000 Vietnamese refugees who fled their homeland in the aftermath of the Vietnam War.Read also: Police chief aims to persuade locals over COVID-19 hospital plan in BatamMore than 12 million South Vietnamese fled after the war ended and sought political asylum in countries such as the United States, Canada and Australia, but many were cast ashore on the islands of Indonesia.Initially managed by the United Nations during the refugee crisis, Galang Refugee Camp is now under the management of the Batam Indonesia Free Trade Zone Authority (BP Batam). Said explained that in 2000, BP Batam turned the camp into a humanitarian tourist attraction.”Former Vietnamese refugees visit the site regularly. Each year they came here several times in large groups,” Said said.He said at the end of 2019, about 200 former camp inmates held a reunion on the site. Such reunions have been organized since 2005, attended by hundreds of former refugees each time.”They came here to visit the graves of their parents, families, or friends,” he said. (nal)Topics :
A resident sits in front of her house in a densely populated area near the railway in Central Jakarta. (Antara/Rivan Awal Lingga)As of Friday, Indonesia had recorded 369 confirmed cases with 32 deaths, the highest toll in Southeast Asia. Nearly 60 percent of COVID-19 deaths in the country have been recorded in Jakarta.The capital, home to at least 10 million people, recorded 223 confirmed cases and 294 suspected cases, with 345 people under surveillance, according to the city’s official website corona.jakarta.go.id as of Friday at 4 p.m. The death toll in the city alone reached 19, making its death rate, 8.5 percent, much higher than the global average of 3.9 percent.While the data from Jakarta does not show whether the virus has reached densely populated areas or not, experts have warned of a higher risk of contracting the coronavirus for the urban poor living in informal settlements due to the more crowded living conditions.Statistics Indonesia’s (BPS) Jakarta office recorded that Jakarta had 445 community units (RWs) categorized as slums, comprising 15 RWs categorized as heavy, 99 moderate, 205 light and 126 very light.Handwashing and maintaining self-hygiene is a basic precaution against the coronavirus, but the agency recorded in 2018 that 15 percent of Jakarta’s population lacked access to proper sanitation.A researcher at the London-based International Institute for Environment and Development, Cecilia Tacoli, said proximity was an important driver of infection.“Given that new infectious diseases will likely continue to spread rapidly into and within cities, low-income settlements need more effective infrastructure,” she said as quoted by Thomson Reuters Foundation.Mobilizing communityAnies has ordered subdistrict heads to ensure all residents are informed about the virus and prevention methods, as well as the measures the administration has implemented, such as the social distancing campaign and prohibition of mass gatherings.“Subdistrict heads will cooperate with RT and RW heads to ensure all [residents] are aware of the risk of transmission. […] That should be done at the grassroots level,” Anies told reporters on Thursday.Despite the planned attempt, low-income groups who live in densely populated areas have so far learned on their own about the coronavirus through social media and the media.Kampung Marlina resident in North Jakarta, Paryati, said the kampung residents had mostly relied on information shared through WhatsApp groups.She also said the limited access to personal hygiene equipment, in particular hand sanitizer, had forced the community to produce their own hand sanitizer for local use.“Not only is it difficult to find [hand sanitizer] at stores, but it is also pricey,” she told The Jakarta Post on Thursday.Marsa, who lives in a a temporary shelter for evicted families along with other 32 families in Kampung Kunir in West Jakarta, said he and his neighbors understood that maintaining their health was the best precaution.Pigeons roam Fatahillah Square in Kota Tua, West Jakarta, on March 15 after Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan closed several tourist destinations on March 13. (JP/Wendra Ajistyatama)“We try not to panic because [whether we contract the virus or not] depends on our belief [in God], but still we protect ourselves by washing our hands and drinking [herbal drinks],” he said.Despite there having been no reported COVID-19 cases in the city’s kampungs so far, according to Paryati and Marsa, who are both active in Urban Poor Linkage (JRMK), the presence of the virus had been a strain on their finances.“What we are thinking about now is how to make ends meet,” Marsa told the Post.Many kampung residents rely on crowd activivies on the streets and tourist destinations like Ancol Dreamworld Park and Kota Tua. The closure of tourist destinations and the drop in foot traffic has hurt their income.The government suggestion to stay at home is oftentimes not feasible for residents who have to leave home to earn money.Home isolationAnother threat comes from the overwhelmed hospitals, which forced the Jakarta administration to impose home isolation on hundreds of people suspected of having COVID-19. Moreover, dozens of people who tested positive with mild symptoms are also under home isolation.Read also: Dozens of COVID-19 positive people are in home isolation in Jakarta. How does it work?.The problem with this policy is that the protocol relies on the conscience of every isolated patient not to leave home and spread the virus.Home isolation in a densely populated area is even riskier because of the constrained space and rooms that are often shared, said Annie Wilkinson, a research fellow at research organization the Institute of Development Studies, Thomson Reuters Foundation reported.Paryati and Marsa both acknowledged that self isolation for families in kampungs was not possible.“I don’t think it is possible to self-isolate. We would need help from the healthcare systems and the government,” Marsa said.Public health expert from the University of Indonesia (UI), Hasbullah Thabrany, called on the city administration to utilize unused places such as schools left by students as temporary “isolation wards”. The government is preparing the Athletes Village in Kemayoran to be turned into a COVID-19 isolation facility.In a broader view, experts have urged the government to consider the various economic and social backgrounds of society in an attempt to suppress the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.“This can be done, for example, by strengthening poverty eradication programs and establishing universal health coverage for low-income households,” I Nyoman Sutarsa from Rural Clinical School at the Australian National University (ANU) and Atin Prabandari from Gadjah Mada University expressed their views in an article first published by The Conversation. (fqh) Anies also issued a call on Friday for Jakartans not to leave the city for three weeks to help Jakarta avoid the same fate as “other countries”. He had warned that Jakarta could become like Italy if the people did not practice social distancing.On Friday, however, several mosques in Jakarta still held a mass Friday prayer, including a mosque in Tebet, South Jakarta, despite the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) fatwa to avoid crowds.Densely populated areasThe spread of the virus could become even more uncontrollable if the virus reaches the city’s densely populated areas known as kampungs. Jakarta, the country’s epicenter of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), is struggling to find another strategy to contain the spread of the virus after a partial lockdown was taken off the table.With the increasing number of cases but limited alternatives, Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan ordered his subordinates down to the neighborhood level to campaign for social distancing, as many people have yet to grasp the urgency of the situation.Read also: ‘If not us, who else will do it?’: Sweat and tears of Indonesia’s COVID-19 nurses, doctors Topics :
“People are desperate. When they heard about today’s donation, over a thousand turned up.”The businessman, who has not been named by authorities, and five of his assistants were arrested for violating the lockdown, Colombo police chief Deshabandu Tennakoon told reporters.Government cash handouts this month — 5,000 rupees each to 5.14 million families living below the poverty line — also sparked chaotic scenes in villages.Colombo and a neighboring district are under lockdown, although some of the virus restrictions have been lifted in other parts of Sri Lanka.The country has recorded 1,045 infections including nine deaths so far. “Some people tried to break the queue and enter,” Rahman told AFP.”That is when the women at the top of the queue fell and were trampled to death.”Nine others were seriously hurt in the stampede and taken to hospital, he said, adding that there was a larger-than-usual crowd during this year’s event, which has been taking place for decades.”People have not earned any money for two months because of the virus lockdown [since March 20],” Rahman said. Topics : Three women were trampled to death during a stampede for an $8 cash handout in Colombo Thursday, amid growing desperation among Sri Lankans struggling to make ends meet during a coronavirus lockdown that has smashed the economy.Some 1,000 people queued outside a businessman’s warehouse for his annual handout during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, local member of parliament Mujibur Rahman said.There was a rush for the 1,500-rupee gift — about the same amount as a laborer’s daily wage — when the gates opened, he said.
The government aims to provide additional clean water access for 3.9 million residents in the dense Greater Jakarta region by 2023 by developing the Ir. H. Djuanda drinking water system (SPAM) in Purwakarta, West Java.The water system would improve access to drinking water and reduce groundwater extraction in Greater Jakarta, which occurs due to the lack of a drinking water piping system.The project, which will distribute water from the country’s largest dam in Jatiluhur at a maximum of 9,350 liters per second, is currently in the public consultation phase. The SPAM will be connected to 19 districts in six regions, namely South Jakarta, East Jakarta, Bekasi city, Bekasi regency, Karawang regency and Bogor regency.Statistics Indonesia (BPS) data in 2018 show that just 74 percent of the population had access to clean drinking water, with the number even lower for nonurban areas.The project was initiated in 2018 by a consortium of private companies consisting of Philippine-based utility company Maynilad Water Services Inc. and MetroPac Water Investments Corp., state-owned construction company PP and PP Infrastructure, and local company Varsha Zamindo Lestari.The ministry’s infrastructure financing director general, Eko Djoeli Heripoerwanto, said the project was financed through a government-to-business cooperation (KPBU) scheme, where private companies would provide end-to-end funding for the project.The consortium will be given a build-operate-transfer contract of 30 years with investment return to be sourced from the water cost.“We hope that the KPBU scheme will provide us leverage from the investment, so we could use the remaining funds to finance other infrastructure projects,” Eko said during the public consultation.The project’s construction is slated to begin next year.“While the timeframe could still change in the future, we hope that the commercial operation will begin in 2023,” he said.SPAM Djuanda is part of the government’s priority initiative to provide 10 million drinking water pipelines listed under the National Medium-Term Development Plan (RPJMN).Forty-one priority projects are listed under the RPJMN, which will cost an estimated Rp 7.4 quadrillion between 2020 and 2024.Topics : It will then be followed by a feasibility study and memorandum of understanding (MoU) with potential buyers between June and August this year, according to the Public Works and Housing Ministry.“With the [future] completion of SPAM Djuanda, we hope that it can reduce intensive groundwater extraction in Greater Jakarta, which has caused the city to sink by around 1 to 20 centimeters per year,” the ministry’s residential infrastructure funding director, Haryo Bekti Martoyopedo, said last Thursday during a public consultation.A study from the Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB), based on a data collected between 1925 and 2015, shows that Jakarta subsides 1 to 15 cm per year, making it one of the fastest-sinking cities in the world.Massive groundwater extraction is blamed by experts as the cause of significant land subsidence in the capital city. Experts also predict that a large part of Jakarta will be submerged by 2050.
The national COVID-19 task force has secured a 5-hectare plot of land in Bangka Belitung Islands for the construction of the country’s third COVID-19 hospital.“The hospital building might only need 1 hectare, but there are 5 hectares of land available to the west of Ir Soekarno General Hospital,” Bangka Belitung Islands COVID-19 task force chief Armayani Rusli said on Wednesday, as quoted by kompas.com.He said the construction of the hospital would commence in July and was expected to be completed in one month. The hospital will be a one-story building comprising service rooms and patient rooms. A total of 100 beds will be provided, with 25 beds for intensive care and 75 beds for mild cases.“In the future, the facility can be used for the treatment of infectious diseases or infections other than COVID-19,” said Armayani.The Bangka Belitung Islands COVID-19 Hospital is the third project by the central government after the COVID-19 hospital in Galang Island, Riau Islands and the one facility that is currently under construction in Lamongan regency, East Java.Bangka Belitung Islands has recorded 121 confirmed COVID-19 cases as of Tuesday, with one death and 41 recoveries. (aly)Topics :