The Jakarta Post
A group of small and medium business owners have filed a class-action lawsuit against President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo and Health Minister Terawan Agus Putranto for what they perceive to be the government’s negligence in handling the COVID-19 pandemic, which has taken a toll on their livelihoods.
The lawsuit was filed by group representative Enggal Pamukty at the Central Jakarta District Court.
“It’s true that I submitted a lawsuit against President Jokowi for [the government’s] fatal negligence in handling COVID-19,” Enggal said on Wednesday as quoted by kompas.com.
He said the government had failed to take the necessary precautions in the early stages of the viral outbreak as it had allocated its resources to promoting tourism instead.
“If only the central government had been serious in mitigating the COVID-19 situation from the start, fellow business owners and I would have still been able to make a living,” Enggal said. “[The situation] has deprived us of income, yet the government has yet to provide support.”
The six plaintiffs demanded financial compensation of Rp 12 billion (US$710,757) for material losses and Rp 10 million for immaterial losses.
Jokowi’s response to the current health emergency has previously been met with criticism among the public. A recent report compiled by Staqo Analytics showed that, from March 23 to 30, “around 59 percent of coverage and discussions on online media and news sites using the keyword ‘Jokowi’ received negative responses from the public”.
The President has repeatedly rejected the idea of imposing a lockdown on Jakarta, the epicenter of Indonesia's COVID-19 epidemic, despite mounting calls from scientists and public health experts ahead of the approaching Idul Fitri holiday.
As of Wednesday, Indonesia had reported a total of 1,677 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 157 deaths. (rfa)