The Jakarta Post
Several members of the House of Representatives have asked the government to reevaluate its travel-relaxation policy after pictures of passengers crowding into Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Tangerang, Banten, went viral on Thursday.
Nurhayati Monoarfa, deputy head of House Commission V overseeing transportation, said the Transportation Ministry should develop performance indicators to assess the policy.
"I suggest the government evaluate the policy by considering officials' preparedness in the field. The Transportation Ministry should also draw up policy-performance indicators," she said in a written statement on Friday as quoted from kompas.com.
Nurhayati said strict health protocols to prevent COVID-19 transmission should always be implemented during the travel-relaxation policy.
"The goal of the policy is to curb the spread of COVID-19 while improving our economy at the same time," she said.
People's Representatives Assembly (MPR) Speaker Bambang Soesatyo also issued a similar request on Friday.
"I asked the Transportation Ministry to improve its management and evaluate the relaxation policy so that its implementation is still in line with COVID-19 prevention measures. Intensive monitoring in regions where the policy is implemented is also necessary," Bambang said.
He said the government should ensure public safety during the travel relaxation.
"The government should also actively inform the public about the policy so they can understand it properly," he said.
To prevent people from going on the Idul Fitri mudik (exodus) and to curb COVID-19 transmission, the Transportation Ministry decided to suspend intercity flights for passengers from April 24 to June 1.
However, the national COVID-19 task force relaxed the restriction on May 6, allowing state officials, private-sector and state-owned enterprises (SOEs) employees who provide essential services, repatriated Indonesian nationals, individuals who need emergency medical care and bereaved family members to travel between cities.
Following the regulations, airlines announced that they would gradually resume domestic flight services with stricter health protocols, such as requiring pre-flight medical checkups and a letter explaining reasons for travel from a relevant institution.
Airport operator PT Angkasa Pura (AP) II communications manager Febri Toga Simatupang said document checking and busy morning flights had caused long queues in Soekarno-Hatta on Thursday morning.
"The crowding of passengers was caused by an influx of passengers coming for morning flights where 13 departures were scheduled between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m. Airport officials were overwhelmed by the large number of passengers seeking to get their flight documents checked," he said.
Nurhayati demanded the government hold AP II accountable for Thursday morning’s incident.
"Officials could open a lot of gates [to prevent crowds] and manage passengers so they could keep their distance," he said.
Nurhayati said passengers should be able to submit the required documents online prior to their flights to prevent crowding at the airport and long queues. (nal)