The Jakarta Post
The Presidential Secretariat has denied claims that President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s working visit to Central Kalimantan on Thursday was an effort to avoid mass protests against the newly passed and highly controversial Job Creation Law set to take place in front of the Presidential Palace.
Bey Machmudin, the secretariat’s deputy for protocol, press and the media, said Jokowi’s trip to Kalimantan had been planned for a long time.
“The presidential agenda for the food estate has been scheduled in advance. So it has absolutely nothing to do with the demonstrations,” Bey told reporters on Wednesday, as quoted by tempo.co.
Jokowi will inspect a food estate in Central Kalimantan, examining rice cultivation, fish cages and duck farms located in Pandih Batu district. In the afternoon, the President will head to Pulang Pisau regency to distribute initial working capital aid to small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
“The President is indeed concerned about national food security because as the FAO [UN Food and Agriculture Organization] has warned, there is a risk of food scarcity because of the pandemic. The President wants to directly observe the progress of the food estate,” Bey said.
In Kalimantan, Jokowi addressed only issues of food security. He made no statement about the nationwide protests.
Netizens responded to Jokowi’s working visit with the Twitter hashtag #JokowiKabur (Jokowi Runs Away), which trended on the platform.
In Greater Jakarta, demonstrations against the controversial Job Creation Law have been ongoing since Tuesday, following the passage of the law on Monday –earlier than originally planned.
Students and workers plan to stage protests in front of the House of Representatives compound and in Pandang Istana Park, located across from Merdeka Palace. (syk)