The Jakarta Post
A survey conducted by the Villages, Disadvantaged Regions and Transmigration Ministry has revealed that most village heads across the country oppose this year’s Idul Fitri mudik (exodus) because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The survey result shows that 89.75 percent of village heads disagree with their residents going on mudik at a time like this,” the ministry’s research and development agency head Ivanovich Agusta said on Tuesday, as quoted by kompas.com.
The survey, held from April 10 to 12, involved 3,931 village heads and sought to understand their opinions about the upcoming mudik season during the Islamic holiday of Idul Fitri, which will occur this year in late May.
He added that the survey also examined the villages’ preparedness to face the mudik over the next one or two months.
Around 20 million people across the country travel to their hometowns in the annual tradition of mudik. Most of them come from the Greater Jakarta area, which has been the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak in the country.
Public health experts argued that mudik could lead to massive COVID-19 contagion on the island of Java, where about 141 million people are living, as many regions have inadequate healthcare systems, particularly when compared to Jakarta.
Despite the warning, the government has refused to enforce a ban on mudik “to prevent the economy from stopping altogether”, according to Coordinating Maritime Affairs and Investment Minister Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan.
The Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) has also attempted to discourage Indonesian Muslims from taking part in mudik from areas affected by the disease by labeling such an exodus haram – forbidden under Islamic law. (nal)