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Jakarta Post

Government’s statements on new normal confusing: Muhammadiyah

  • Sri Wahyuni

    The Jakarta Post

Yogyakarta   /   Sun, May 31, 2020   /   10:58 am
Government’s statements on new normal confusing: Muhammadiyah Customers adhere to social distancing measures as they sit on chairs while waiting in line at Bank Mandiri Pamulang in South Tangerang, Banten, on Wednesday. (JP/Dhoni Setiawan)

As Indonesia has yet to see the curve of COVID-19 infection flatten, the government’s decision to roll out guidelines on easing COVID-19 restrictions under its so-called new normal protocols has created confusion among the public, according to Islamic organization Muhammadiyah.

“The government’s recent statements about the new normal has raised questions and caused confusion in the community,” reads a statement that was jointly signed by Muhammadiyah chairman Haedar Nashir and secretary Abdul Mu’ti on Thursday.

In some areas, malls and shopping centers are open while mosques and worship houses remain closed. “This has the potential of causing tension between government institutions and congregations,” the statement reads.

The statement also cites National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) data that indicates the outbreak in the country is not yet under in control.

“It therefore makes sense if the public’s perception is that the [plan to loosen restrictions] means economic interests take precedent over the people’s lives,” according to the statement.

“Keeping the economy running is important, but saving people’s lives is no less important given the uncertainty of whether the COVID-19 infection can be stopped.”

Read also: Four regions call off PSBB amid lack of funds, central government's easing plan

Muhammadiyah questioned whether the government’s decision to implement new normal protocols had been backed by epidemiologists through thorough assessments.

“All parties hope the pandemic ends soon. But everything needs to be assessed thoroughly so that our efforts over the past three months will end well,” the statement reads, referring to large-scale social restrictions that have been in place in some areas since March.

In the past three days, Indonesia recorded over 600 new confirmed cases with another 678 new cases reported on Friday.

The Health Ministry has confirmed fluctuating numbers of new cases daily, with several record highs of new cases and jumps recorded in the past two weeks, despite the government’s occasional claim that the curve has flattened.

Muhammadiyah’s Yogyakarta provincial branch (PWM DIY) issued a call on Friday reminding its members to continue staying and praying at home in a bid to further curb the spread of COVID-19.

The call was issued after PWM DIY held a meeting on Thursday night in response to the provincial administration’s decision to extend the PSBB, which was initially to end on May 31, to June 30.

Read also: Epidemiologist claims easing PSBB could prolong COVID-19 crisis until 2024

“We consider this necessary because Yogyakarta province is still in need of large-scale social restrictions,” Muhammadiyah Yogyakarta branch chairman Gita Danu Pranata told The Jakarta Post on Friday.

The one-page statement called on Muslims to continue conducting prayers at home, including Friday prayers that would normally be held at mosques.

As of Friday, Yogyakarta recorded 230 new cases of COVID-19 with 149 recoveries and eight deaths.