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Jakarta Post

Indonesian government has ignored science many times. This won’t end well.

  • Ary Hermawan

    The Jakarta Post

PREMIUM
Jakarta   /   Tue, January 26, 2021   /  01:14 am
Indonesian government has ignored science many times. This won’t end well. Villagers walk through an inundated residential area in Banjar regency, South Kalmantan, on Jan. 15. South Kalimantan Governor Sahbirin Noor announced a state of emergency due to the major flooding across the province. (Antara/Bayu Pratama S.)

With no end in sight to the coronavirus pandemic that has infected, sickened and killed nearly a million people, and with looming ecological disasters, some of them man-made, the last thing we need is a government that pays little regard to science. Unfortunately, this could be the grim reality in Indonesia today. Within the first weeks of 2021, Indonesia has had to deal with a new spike in coronavirus cases across Java, deadly earthquakes in Mamuju and Majene, both in West Sulawesi, and the worst flooding to hit South Kalimantan in decades. It is as if 2021 were saying “hold my beer” to us after being compared to the annus horribilis that is 2020. Strong leadership that inspires confidence is requisite in a time of crisis. President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, described by some scholars as a “technocratic populist”, has clearly tried to exude the aura...