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Mukti Fajar Nur Dewata was elected as Judicial Commission Chairman amid its declining image and questions about its existence. He must clear the backlog he inherited including the agency’s sour relation with the Supreme Court. Intersecting supervisory jurisdiction of the Commission and the Supreme Court’s supervisory agency has rendered the Judicial Commission unable to perform its duties optimally. The Commission is currently in the process of reviewing the plan to revise the Judicial Commission Law to delineate the boundaries of its jurisdiction.
The Indonesian Ombudsman finally intervened in the rice import polemic last March. Agency Chair Mokhammad Najih said the government’s planned rice import ahead of the prime harvest season had discomposed the public, particularly farmers, while in fact the import would not become necessary until May. Moreover, the agency also found maladministration in the policy making process. Najih added that the Ombudsman had strengthened its role in helping improve the public service quality. In addition to following through with public reports and complaints, it will continue to enhance oversight of the ministries and state agencies. The focus of the watchdogs’ new board will be on economic development issues and their impact on public services. Najih also highlighted the need to expand his agency’s authority.
State Health Care and Social Security Agency’s (BPJS Kesehatan) CEO Ali Ghufron Mukti revealed that his agency was still in the red with a deficit of Rp6.3 trillion as of December 2020. The increased premiums starting last January coupled with the decline in the use of BPJS services during the pandemic are expected to help reduce the deficit. Given the pandemic as a non-natural disaster, the government has borne coronavirus treatment costs. Ghufron said that to increase public’s participation, BPJS Kesehatan was exploring an innovative funding mechanism via cooperation with philanthropic institutions with the hope to help fund prospective National Health Insurance-Healthy Indonesia Card (JKN-KIS) holders or even assist settle arrears. This way, the entire population will eventually have access to health care.
Indonesian Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (ITAGI) Chair Sri Rezeki Hadinegoro said that the Covid-19 immunization has been fairly smooth albeit the vaccine shortage. The high mortality rate among the elderly population has prompted the government to shuffle the order of priority groups for vaccination. On the advice of the ITAGI, the elderly group was moved forward from the fourth to the second in line to be vaccinated along with public servants. Accoding to Sri Rezeki the main objective of vaccination was not to create heard immunity as widely publicized but rather to lower the death rate. Not only participating in the preparation of vaccination roadmap, the ITAGI also gives recommendations to the health ministry.
Hariyadi Sukamdani, Chairman of the Indonesian Hotels and Restaurants Association (PHRI), was quick to register his members in the second stage of the national Covid-19 vaccination program. His desire is to have all 121,500 PHRI members working in the hotel and tourism industry to be vaccinated. But this wish is hampered by the limited amount of vaccine availability. Hariyadi said that vaccinating tourism workers is important to revive the industry, especially in Bali, which had taken a hard blow from suspended tourism. Hariyadi, who is also the CEO of Sahid Group and Chairman of the Indonesian Employers Association (Apindo), supports the government’s plan to open a Covid-free corridor in collaboration with several nations.
The fatwa (edict) commission of the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) declared the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine haram (forbidden by Islamic law) because it used trypsin enzyme from pigs in its viral multiplication process. The fatwa runs counter to the drug monitoring agency (BPOM)’s ruling that the enzyme is already broken up thus no longer present in the vaccine making process. Penny Kusumastuti Lukito, Chair of BPOM, considers the end product to be free of porcine material. Given the limited supply of halal (permissible by Islamic law)-certified vaccine Sinovac, the government has no choice but to turn to other vaccines including AstraZeneca.
Chief Executive Officer of Astra International Djony Bunarto Tjondro is leading the company in the middle of the crisis resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic. The large-scale social restrictions from April to May 2020 was a blow to the Astra group automotive industry. Sales of cars and motorbikes fell sharply as a result of the weak market and people's buying power. Astra's business began to revive after the government relaxed the social restrictions from the middle of 2020. Supported by other business units, Astra was able to book a net profit of Rp175.05 trillion for last year, although this was down 26 percent on the previous year. As well as retaining its more established main business lines Djony says that Astra plans to diversify its business as a result of the pandemic. Electric vehicles is sector where preparations are underway.
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