Watchdog slams corona mitigation regulation as pro-business, not health

CNN Indonesia – April 3, 2020
ICW Coordinator Adnan Topan Husodo speaking to reporter – Undated (Damar Sinuko)

Jakarta – Indonesian Corruption Watch (ICW) Coordinator Adnan Topan Husodo has criticised Government Regulation in Lieu of Law (Perppu) Number 1/2020 on State Financial Policy and Financial System Stability for Covid-19 Pandemic Mitigation and/or Addressing Dangerous Threats Against National Economy and/or Financial System Stability.

He believes that the Perppu misses its target. Instead of dealing with the public health emergency, the Perppu only endeavors to overcome the economic impact which the government has not even declared to be an emergency yet.

“The scope of the Perppu’s policies we believe are in fact very much focused on issues related to the economic crisis. Yet what we are facing is a health crisis, a crisis trigged by a disease”, he explained during a teleconference broadcast on the Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation (YLBHI) official YouTube channel on Friday April 3.

“It’s a policy that takes advantage of the issue of the pandemic but is not really relevant in addressing the real problem, namely a health pandemic”, Husodo added.

He gave as an example the lack of a regulation in the Perppu on special bodies to deal with Covid-19.

“Does it in this context discuss the posture of a body from a special institution to deal with the pandemic, it doesn’t have that either”, he said.

Meanwhile, he said, the Perppu has two main points, namely the issue of tax incentives and short-term liquidity assistance for banks which are affected by the crisis as a result of the global pandemic.

“If we look at these two points they are policies for those who are economic players. Not society in general”, he said.

Moreover, in the elucidation section on Article 2 Paragraph (1) Point b of the Perppu there are stipulations on the reallocation of 5 percent of the healthcare budget. Husodo questioned why, in the midst of a health crisis, is the health budget actually being reallocated.

On the other hand, said Husodo, the government has still not declared that Indonesia is in an economic crisis.

Husodo has repeatedly warned the public because at the same time the government and the House of Representatives (DPR) are in the process of deliberating the Draft Omnibus Law on Job Creation, part of which is discussions on tax incentives.

“Is this individual tax? No. But tax [incentives] for corporations which address corporate bodies. This needs to be criticised”, he said.

Earlier, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo announced funding amounting to 405.1 trillion rupiah through Perppu Number 1/2020, claiming that the budged would be allocated to the economic recovery of micro-, small- and medium-enterprises (UMKM) and the protection of healthcare workers. (thr/arh)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “ICW Sebut Perppu Corona Urus Pemain Ekonomi, Bukan Kesehatan”.]