Former sports minister Imam Nahrawi indicted for accepting Rp 20 billion in bribes

first_imgImam took office as youth and sports minister on Oct. 27, 2014, and appointed Miftahul – who had been his close confidante and chauffeur since 2011 – as his private assistant.“The defendant introduced Miftahul Ulum to a host of Youth and Sports Ministry officials, suggesting that they first consult with Miftahul should there be anything they would like to communicate to the defendant,” Ronald said.Imam was indicted under Article 20 of the 2001 Corruption Eradication Law, which prohibits civil servants and state officials from receiving gifts or promises in exchange for abusing their power and carries a maximum sentence of 20 years of imprisonment.Imam did not submit a formal objection to the indictment but said that he would present his side of the story later in the trial.“To uncover the truth, I ask that the trial continue to the argumentation stage. But I strongly object to the indictment, and I will express that when I present my defense,” Imam said during the hearing. A team of prosecutors had previously named Imam on a list of alleged recipients of bribes from the National Sports Committee (KONI) to the ministry during the trial of committee secretary-general Ending Fuad Hamidy at the Jakarta Corruption Court last year.KPK also questioned Indonesia’s 2004 Athens Olympic gold medalist Taufik Hidayat as a witness in the bribery case. (rfa)Topics : Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) prosecutors have indicted former youth and sports minister Imam Nahrawi for accepting Rp 11.5 billion (US$840,280) in bribes and an additional Rp 8.64 billion in gratuities from a number of ministry and Indonesian Sports Council (KONI) officials.“Defendant Imam Nahrawi, who served as youth and sports minister from 2014 to 2019 alongside Miftahul Ulum, accepted a gift of Rp 11.5 billion in cash from KONI secretary-general Ending Fuad Hamidy and KONI general treasurer Johhny E Awuy,” KPK prosecutor Ronald Worotikan read out during Imam’s indictment hearing at the Jakarta Corruption Court on Friday, as quoted by Antara news agency.The prosecutors said that the bribes were intended to accelerate the approval and disbursement of a state grant proposed by KONI to the Youth and Sports Ministry in 2018.last_img read more

Walmart loses another home-delivery provider amid Amazon clash

first_imgWalmart is parting ways with grocery-delivery partner Skipcart, the latest defection from its network of logistics companies who often struggle to make ends meet schlepping cola and cantaloupes for the nation’s biggest food retailer.Skipcart notified Walmart on Jan. 31 that it was terminating their relationship effective April 30, according to a letter obtained by Bloomberg News. That end date has since been pushed up to March, and Walmart has already reassigned stores covered by Skipcart to other providers. Boerne, Texas-based Skipcart handles deliveries from about 126 stores in 32 states, mostly in smaller markets, and began working with Walmart in late 2018.A representative for Walmart declined to comment. The departure of Skipcart follows those of Deliv last year and Uber Technologies in 2018, highlighting the tricky economics of so-called “last mile” delivery as more and more Americans buy groceries online. Skipcart Chief Executive Officer Ben Jones said his company was handling about 50,000 Walmart deliveries a month, but was losing money “hand over fist.” He said he would rather focus on restaurant deliveries, which are easier and more profitable to shuttle than carloads of bottled water and paper towels.“The grocery model does not work,” Jones said in an interview. “It doesn’t work today, and it’s not going to work six months from now. We’re all losing money.”Neck-and-NeckWalmart can’t afford to lose momentum in its market-leading grocery business, which makes up 56 percent of its US sales and has fueled its run of 22 consecutive quarters of same-store sales growth in its home market. now offers two-hour grocery delivery for its Prime customers for free in more than 2,000 cities, and grocery orders more than doubled in the fourth quarter.While the web only accounts for about 4% of the $800 billion US grocery sector, adoption is increasing. Over half of all current online grocery shoppers started doing so over the past year, according to a survey of about 3,000 Americans by Morgan Stanley. Walmart and Amazon are neck-and-neck at the top of the market, the survey found, with about half of all web shoppers having used one of them in the past three months.Walmart offers home delivery of groceries from about 1,600 stores today, double the number it had a year ago, with the goods ferried by a patchwork of companies including Postmates, DoorDash, Roadie and Point Pickup. Customers pay a fee of $7.95 to $9.95, which varies based on the delivery time. The retailer has also built its own internal delivery platform for self-employed drivers called Spark, which is now available in 31 states, and it’s testing autonomous vehicles as well.Food shoppers can also pick up online orders in Walmart’s parking lots for free at 3,200 stores, with another 500 coming on board this year.Topics :last_img read more

China delays college entrance exam as fears grow over risk of coronavirus second wave

first_imgTopics : China will delay its national college entrance exam by a month as it grapples with a coronavirus pandemic as travellers returning from abroad are fuelling new cases and boosting concern over the threat of a second wave of infections.The two-day “gaokao” annual test will be pushed back to July 7 and 8, China Central Television said on Tuesday, with Hubei province, where the virus emerged late last year, and Beijing, the capital, being given more leeway in scheduling it.The delay to the test, seen as opening the way to a life of opportunity and taken by more than 10 million students last year, is the latest sign of China’s struggle to resume normal life after widespread lockdowns aimed at reining in the virus. New data from a survey of manufacturers showed that factory activity expanded in March from February’s collapse as businesses returned to work, but analysts warned that slumping external demand could prevent a durable recovery.”The situation could be very fluid as the virus outbreak remains unpredictable,” analysts at ANZ bank said in a note. “Chinese policymakers will likely step up and expand the stimulus program if needed.”Rise in cases On Tuesday, mainland China reported an increase in new infections, reversing four days of declines, as cases rose among arrivals from overseas.Monday’s 48 new cases were up from 31 the previous day, the National Health Commission said in a statement, with one death.All were imported, taking China’s tally of such cases to 771, with no new local infection reported.Locally transmitted infections have mostly declined, but authorities concerned about travellers who caught the virus abroad are stepping up screening and quarantine measures, while slashing international flights and barring most foreigners.Of Monday’s new imported cases, 10 were in the northern region of Inner Mongolia, involving travellers whose flights were diverted to the regional capital of Hohhot from Beijing, state media said.The commercial hub of Shanghai reported 11 new imported cases, comprising mainly returning Chinese nationals, while Beijing reported three.Wuhan, the capital of the central Hubei province, reported no new infections for a seventh straight day.By Monday, total infections stood at 81,518 in mainland China, with 3,305 deaths. center_img “China has slowed transmission of the virus and in so doing, has passed one peak in the outbreak,” said Tarik Jasarevic, a representative of the World Health Organization. “The challenge now is to prevent a resurgence of new cases.”The epidemic in the Asia-Pacific region was “far from over”, another WHO official added.Last week, a study in British medical journal the Lancet Public Health recommended that China extend school and workplace closures, since an earlier relaxation of curbs could bring a second peak in the outbreak by August.China’s tax authorities acknowledged the pandemic’s impact on exporters, saying they were studying policies to reduce pressure on businesses, from tax cuts to an extension of preferential policies for foreign firms.last_img read more

Indonesia’s strategy to combat COVID-19: What we know so far

first_imgPresident Joko “Jokowi” Widodo finally declared a COVID-19 public health emergency on March 31, one month after the first two cases in the country were confirmed on March 2.The President issued Government Regulation No. 21/2020 on large-scale social distancing as an implementing regulation of the 2018 Health Quarantine Law to restrict the movement of people and goods within a control zone but he stopped short of allowing regional administrations to close their borders.What does this mean? Will it be enough to curb the spread of the coronavirus? Read also: Indonesia’s latest official COVID-19 figuresLarge-scale social restrictionsLarge-scale social restrictions include the closure of schools and workplaces, restrictions on religious activities and restrictions on activities in public places.Experts say the measures are not much different from what the nation, especially the capital, had already been implementing since March 15, when the President called for social distancing.Several regional administrations had imposed these measures, although not strictly, since before the President announced them. With the announcement of a public health emergency, however, regional administrations must submit a request to apply large-scale social restrictions in their respective regions with the Health Ministry, which will approve the request.Regional quarantineThere are three other measures besides the large-scale social restrictions stipulated in the Health Quarantine Law, namely home quarantine, hospital quarantine and regional quarantine.Regional quarantine measures mean border restrictions in specific areas. Under the public health emergency measures, the central government allows regional administrations to make a request to close their borders, but not large-scale areas.Coordinating Human Development and Culture Minister Muhadjir Effendy said President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo had told his subordinates that provinces, cities and regencies may only implement large-scale social restrictions, whereas regional quarantines – also known as partial quarantines – were to be imposed only in smaller areas.Without large-scale regional quarantines in place, provinces and cities cannot close their borders.A taxi driver washes his hands at a temporary public sink on Jl. MH. Thamrin in Central Jakarta on March 24. (JP/Seto Wardhana)Jokowi has also decided not to ban the mudik (mass exodus) on Idul Fitri, although he has advised people not to mudik.Read also: COVID-19: ‘Mudik’ risks mass contagion across JavaCivil emergencyBefore declaring a public health emergency, President Jokowi had been weighing up a declaration of “a civil emergency” as he ordered his Cabinet to impose stricter rules on social distancing, also known as physical distancing, to contain the coronavirus.This had raised concerns among experts that a civil emergency status might disrupt the handling of a health crisis since such a status, as stipulated in Government Regulation in lieu of law (Perppu) No. 23/1959, implies a heavy-handed security approach.Presidential spokesperson Fadjroel Rachman said that the civil emergency policies were only anticipatory measures “to prepare for if the situation gets significantly worse.”Lokataru Legal and Human Rights Foundation executive director Haris Azhar said with the declaration of the COVID-19 public health emergency, health experts and medical workers should be in the forefront in enforcing the measures, not the police.SanctionsThe government regulation on large-scale social distancing stipulates no legal consequences for violators.However, the President stressed that the National Police could take legal steps against anyone violating the rules under the large-scale social-distancing measures.Jakarta Police spokesperson Sr. Comr. Yusri Yunus said people could be charged with a criminal offense if they violated the large-scale social-distancing measures based on Article 93 of the Health Quarantine Law.The article he referred to states that people who violate a health quarantine face a maximum of one year’s imprisonment and/or a Rp 100 million (US$6,238) fine.A health official in Pandeglang regency, Banten, checks the body temperature of travelers on April 2. (Antara/Muhammad Bagus Khoirunas)Indonesian Legal Aid Institute (YLBHI) chairwoman Asfinawati said with reference to the law, people violating quarantine measures could not be charged with the above sanctions if they caused no harm that might lead to a health emergency.“If somebody goes out in public but makes no contact with anyone, for example, security personnel can ask the person to go home, but the person cannot be charged under the law,” she told The Jakarta Post over the phone on Wednesday.Meanwhile, she added, the repressive nature of the Health Quarantine Law was not to control citizens individually but rather to restrict commercial activities.Asfinawati also warned the government not to apply repressive measures.“Health problems cannot be solved by imprisonment,” she said.IncentivesLegal experts have said that rather than punishing social-distancing violators, the government needs to instead make sure people can stay at home without losing their income.Constitutional law expert from Jakarta-based Jentera School of Law Bivitri Susanti said the government should provide “stimulus packages” for companies that would face major losses if productivity decreased as a result of closure.“The government cannot directly order all companies to ask their employees to work from home,” Bivitri told the Post on Tuesday.She feared that without incentives, employees asked to work from home would be unpaid or that there would be mass unemployment where companies took into account costs and laid off manual workers or employees with temporary contracts.With the large-scale social-distancing measures, restrictions on activities must take into consideration meeting of the basic needs of the people, as stipulated in Article 4 of the government regulation.The government has issued Perppu No. 1/2020 on state financial policy and financial system stability, refocusing state expenditure of Rp 405.1 trillion on the health sector, social-welfare safety net and tax incentives.A detailed explanation of the Perppu can be found here. it enough to defeat the coronavirus?Padjajaran University epidemiologist Panji Fortuna Hadisoemarto said social restrictions alone were not enough without large-scale regional quarantines especially for areas with demographic characteristics of high inter-regional movement.“If the population is relatively static, large-scale social distancing can help. But for such high mobility in Jakarta, a regional quarantine is really needed,” he said.As the coronavirus continues to spread to different regions, some local administrations have proactively imposed limitations on social activities and applied border restrictions to prevent further transmission.Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan previously proposed that the central government close the capital’s borders while prohibiting all activities within the city except for those related to energy, food, health, communications and finance.The President, however, has repeatedly urged local and regional leaders to abide by the same rules of play through his government’s current regulations and not issue their own regulations.“With the issuance of this government regulation, everything is clear. I ask regional leaders not to make their own policies,” Jokowi said.A health worker helps a colleague at the emergency COVID-19 hospital at the athletes village in Kemayoran, Central Jakarta on March 23. (Antara/Pool/Hafidz Mubarak A)Even so, the government has issued a temporary ban on foreigners entering the country. The curbs will not apply to holders of work permits, diplomats or other official visitors.Panji said that besides the need for regional quarantines, the central government also must play an active role in advising local governments in taking the correct measures to curb the epidemic.He argued that the current policy served only as the legal basis for mass social distancing but it was not an obligation, leaving the relevant local governments reluctant to make decisions.“Regional administrations can prioritize different things for the same problem. I am afraid they will make the wrong decision — like those who are hit hard but don’t propose social restrictions because of limited resources,” he said.Article 2 states that regional proposals for large-scale social restrictions must be based on epidemiology, threat magnitude, effectiveness, supporting resources and operational, technical, political, economic, socio-cultural, defense and security considerations.Panji said the central government needed to provide assistance to regional governments, including technical assistance and especially expert resources that could help assess their epidemiological situations.“Rules are not enough. They need to make sure there are enough appropriate resources in the regions. In the meantime, they can assess whether certain virus-hit regions need large-scale social distancing before they make proposals,” he added.Topics :last_img read more

COVID-19 is 10 times more deadly than swine flu: WHO

first_imgTedros lamented Monday that some countries are seeing a doubling of cases every three to four days, but stressed that if countries were committed to “early case-finding, testing, isolating [and] caring for every case and tracing every contact” they could rein in the virus.More than half of the planet’s population is currently staying home as part of efforts to stem the spread of the virus, but Tedros warned that “our global connectedness means the risk of re-introduction and resurgence of the disease will continue”.He pointed out that while COVID-19 had accelerated quickly, “it decelerates much more slowly.””In other words, the way down is much slower than the way up,” he said, stressing that “control measures must be lifted slowly, and with control. It cannot happen all at once.””Control measures can only be lifted if the right public health measures are in place, including significant capacity for contact tracing,” he said.Regardless of the efforts put in place, the WHO acknowledged that “ultimately, the development and delivery of a safe and effective vaccine will be needed to fully interrupt transmission”.A vaccine is thought to be at least 12 to 18 months away.Topics : The novel coronavirus is 10 times more deadly than swine flu, which caused a global pandemic in 2009, the World Health Organization said Monday, stressing a vaccine would be necessary to fully halt transmission.WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a virtual briefing from Geneva that the organization was constantly learning about the new virus sweeping the globe, which has now killed nearly 115,000 people and infected over 1.8 million.”We know that COVID-19 spreads fast, and we know that it is deadly, 10 times deadlier than the 2009 flu pandemic,” he said. WHO says 18,500 people died of “swine flu”, or H1N1, which was first uncovered in Mexico and the United States in March 2009, but the Lancet medical estimated the toll to be between 151,700 and 575,400.The Lancet review included estimated deaths in Africa and Southeast Asia that were not accounted for by the WHO. The outbreak, which was declared a pandemic in June 2009 and considered over by August 2010, turned out to be not as deadly as first feared.Vaccines were rushed out, but in hindsight, the West, particularly Europe, and the WHO were criticized for overreacting at a time when annual influenza epidemics every year killed between 250,000 and 500,000 people, according to WHO.last_img read more

Asia markets lifted by hopes worst of virus has passed, oil falls

first_imgAsian markets rallied Monday as the rate of deaths from coronavirus sank in several badly hit countries, while leaders stepped up plans to reopen their economies, though oil prices sank with supply glut fears overshadowing output reductions.Traders are also keeping a keen eye on key meetings of central banks in Japan, the US and Europe this week, hoping for further financial support to offset the impact of the virus, which is expected to have sent the world into recession.But while more than 205,000 people have died from the disease and nearly three million cases been recorded, figures at the weekend out of Europe’s worst-hit countries provided some much-needed hope to markets that the peak of the crisis may have passed. Meanwhile, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said that a first stage of a reopening would start on May 15 if hospitalisations decrease.Eyes on central banks “It is looking well short of a grand reopening in the US, but the fact that some folks are returning to work seems to have piqued the fancy of investors,” said Stephen Innes at AxiCorp.Asian traders welcomed the developments. Tokyo ended the morning more than two percent up, while Hong Kong, Seoul, Taipei and Singapore were all more than one percent higher. Shanghai and Sydney added 0.6 percent each.Focus is now on central banks this week, with traders looking for signs of further support to embattled economies following unprecedented multibillion-dollar measures such as bond-buying and interest rate cuts.”The markets are bolstered today by central banks, who can support risk sentiment this week by signalling a willingness to expand existing asset-purchase schemes if conditions warrant,” Innes added.On oil markets, WTI took another leg down, having endured a painful sell-off last week, with worries about storage and near non-existent demand overshadowing signs that some countries — including Kuwait and Algeria — are starting to slash production in line with a major agreement hammered out this month.”Concerns surrounding rising global inventories, especially in the US with the coronavirus pandemic weighing on gasoline consumption, are pressuring oil prices,” Kim Kwangrae, commodities analyst at Samsung Futures Inc, told Bloomberg News.”While OPEC has started to curb output, demand is still not being supported and that’s going to be a down factor for prices.” Topics :center_img Britain’s daily tally was the lowest since March 31, while Italy and Spain’s were the lowest in a month. France’s toll was a drop of more than a third on the previous day’s figures. And the relative improvement in the data has allowed governments to start easing up on lockdowns that have kept half the planet stuck at home. In Italy, wholesale stores and restaurants will be allowed to resume business on May 4 and people will once again be permitted to stroll in parks and visit relatives, while other shops and museums will open three weeks later.Spain on Sunday let children play outside for the first time since mid-March and Swiss hairdressers, massage parlours, florists and garden centres will be able to reopen from Monday. last_img read more

Australia begins wide-ranging enquiry into deadly bushfires

first_imgPrime Minister Scott Morrison said the six-month Royal Commission will investigate preparedness for future bushfires and the need for any changes to the law to clarify who is responsible for overseeing emergency authorities.A two-week hearing of the royal commission, sitting in Canberra but being conducted electronically, has started with a focus on the changing global climate and natural disaster risk.Topics : Australia on Monday began the first hearings of a powerful inquiry into the causes of catastrophic bushfires that swept across the country, killing 33 people, destroying some 2,500 homes and razing an area the size of South Korea.Fuelled by three years of drought, which experts have attributed to climate change, hundreds of fires, some massive in size, burned across Australia’s east coast for months before finally being extinguished in February.”The tragic loss of life, the destruction of homes, the significant loss of livestock and millions of hectares of forest has been devastating and continues to deeply affect people and their recovery,” Mark Binskin, chair of the inquiry, said in an emailed statement.last_img read more

PLN books $2.8b loss in Q1 amid weakening rupiah

first_imgState-owned electricity company PLN’s bottom line has plunged into the negative in this year’s first quarter after the rupiah exchange rate fell to a record low in March.PLN booked a net loss Rp 38.9 trillion (US$2.76 billion) in the January to March period, down from a net profit Rp 4.12 trillion in the same period last year, the company’s financial report showed.The net loss was driven by first quarter foreign exchange losses of Rp 52 trillion, down from a gain of Rp 4 trillion in the same period last year. “Payments to IPPs will rise, especially if more large-scale PLTUs begin commissioning this year,” added Elrika, a researcher with the Ohio-based Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA).PLN guaranteed buying power from IPP-owned coal plants to incentivize electrification, at the behest of the government. However, the incentive has become a burden for PLN as the electricity company struggles to sell the electricity.Going into the second quarter, high IPP payments and low electricity demand amid partial lockdowns (PSBB) will present risks for PLN’s finances, said Elrika.Previously, analysts warned that at least two of PLN’s ongoing programs this year could pose risks for the company’s post-pandemic financial recovery.The first program is PLN’s free and discounted electricity scheme for 31 million of Indonesia’s poorest households as a part of the government’s stimulus package to cushion the economic impacts on the country’s most vulnerable citizens amid the COVID-19 pandemic.The three-month scheme was expected to cost Rp 3.5 trillion but the government recently announced it would be extended by another three months until September. Government officials said the state would reimburse PLN but did not provide a timeline.The government still owes PLN Rp 48 trillion for subsidies incurred in 2018 and 2019.The second program is PLN’s Take-Or-Pay policy, in which the company guarantees it will buy a certain amount of electricity from independently owned coal-fired power plants — even when demand collapses, as is now happening during the pandemic.Topics : The rupiah fell as low as Rp 16,575 against the United States dollar in March, the lowest level since the 1998 financial crisis, before rebounding to around Rp 14,000 in June.“However, these are unrealized foreign exchange losses such that, if it was calculated using June rates, according to the report, these costs will not be there,” said energy analyst Elrika Hamdi in a statement on Monday.The report also showed PLN’s revenue rose slightly by 5 percent to Rp 72.7 trillion. Notably, the company excluded compensation income, as per a recent regulation, that would have amounted to a significant Rp 4.4 trillion, according to PLN.Meanwhile, expenses rose by a steeper 7 percent to Rp 78.89 trillion, led by higher payments to Independent Power Producers (IPP), particularly those that operate large coal-fired power plants (PLTU).last_img read more

‘Get Britain moving again’, PM Johnson to unveil new infrastructure plan

first_imgBut Johnson, who won a large majority at last year’s election, hopes to revive his fortunes by returning to his pledges to “level up” Britain by focusing spending on traditional Labor-supporting areas that backed his Conservative Party.”It’s an important plan … As we move out of this awful, awful period of coronavirus, this dreadful disease, we want to get Britain moving again,” Patel told Sky News.”We are building now very much a road to recovery, a roadmap, focusing on infrastructure right now … focused on roads, broadband, the type of things that effectively help to create jobs but also provide services and economic growth and opportunity around the country.”Despite the likely questions over the bill for such works, Johnson repeated that his government would not return to the austerity policies seen under Conservative former prime minister, David Cameron. He told the Mail on Sunday newspaper that he was going to act fast “to build our way back to health”. According to pollster Opinium, more of the public favor opposition Labor leader Keir Starmer as prime minister over Johnson, although the Conservatives still hold a lead in terms of voting intention.PartiesSome scientists fear that Britain is on course for a second wave of coronavirus, not helped by some people holding parties and large gatherings after Johnson announced a further easing of England’s lockdown in early July, when pubs and restaurants can reopen.”My concerns with the UK government are sometimes less with the substance … I’m more concerned that the messaging … seems much more that it’s all over and you can go back to doing everything as you did before,” Mark Drakeford, the first minister of Wales, told Sky News.Patel said people should still follow the guidelines.”It’s important that the public realize that this virus has not disappeared at all,” she said. “We are still in a health emergency … People need to follow the guidance.” Topics : Prime Minister Boris Johnson will launch a plan this week to get Britain “moving again” after the coronavirus lockdown, when the government will set out measures to boost infrastructure construction, interior minister Priti Patel said on Sunday.Johnson will make a speech on Tuesday to set out plans to fast-track building projects such as hospitals, schools, housing, and road and rail infrastructure, part of efforts to try to stem a fall in support for his government.The British leader has been criticized for his response to the coronavirus crisis, with opposition parties and some scientists saying the government was too slow to bring in a lockdown, too slow to carry out widespread testing and not clear in its messaging.last_img read more

Jakarta parents protest age ‘discrimination’ in school enrollment

first_imgAge is more than just a number for aspiring high school students in Jakarta.Last week, the city administration rolled out the zoning system for this year’s public school enrollment (PPDB). Unlike previous years, a potential student’s age is now a main factor in the registration process, sparking protests from parents caught unaware.Before 8 a.m. on Thursday morning, 60-year-old Sugiharto and his wife sat down at their computer to register their youngest daughter at three state senior high schools (SMA) within their designated enrollment zone, based on proximity to their residence in the Kebayoran Lama subdistrict of South Jakarta. At first, the registration appeared to be going smoothly. Their daughter was placed on all three of the schools’ enrollment lists. Two hours later, however, Sugiharto found that his daughter’s name had been removed and replaced by the names of other potential students.Soon it became apparent that their daughter’s age had cost her a spot, even though her average grades were higher than some of the older students who had pushed her off the list.“It’s unfair that age has become a main factor in school enrollment. How do you even explain that? “Why can older kids get into the same schools [at the expense of] younger students?” Sugiharto told The Jakarta Post on Saturday.The couple’s daughter is 15 years and three months old. There has been no clear explanation from the provincial government about why the age policy was adopted, Sugiharto said.Some parents have heard arguments that age cannot be manipulated, unlike the distance between home and school. “But just because it can’t be manipulated doesn’t mean it’s the fairest measurement,” Sugiharto said.Now the couple’s only hope is for their daughter to try her luck enrolling through the academic merit system, which fills only 20 percent of school seats and where potential students from throughout the city must compete for spots.The Jakarta administration has allocated 40 percent of the total school seats to be filled by the zoning system, compared to 5 percent for non-academic achievers, 25 percent for poverty preference admissions, 20 percent for Jakarta-based high achievers and another 5 percent for non-Jakarta high achievers. The remaining 5 percent is reserved for the children of state officials.Prior to this year, the proximity of a student’s residence to a school was considered an important criterion for enrollment. Schools used Google Maps to locate and verify a student’s home address to ensure that those living in the vicinity had priority in enrollment.This year, the Jakarta education agency has argued for the use of age in enrollment because of Jakarta’s complex demographic makeup.The head of the agency, Nahdiana, said the distribution of schools was different in each area and schools had varying intake capacities.“Population density is not the same in every community of Jakarta, and then we also have vertical housing,” she said in a recent online briefing.Age was used instead because it was a “neutral variable” that could not be manipulated, she said.In a later response, the agency argued that students from lower income families would lose out on spots through the zoning system because of lower average grades, hence the switch to the age-based policy, reported.Some 31,000 students have been accepted to state junior high schools (SMP) and 12,684 students have enrolled in public senior high schools through the zoning track this year, the city administration reported.About 52 percent of the SMA students who entered through the zoning track were 16 year-olds, followed by 15-year-olds (39.7 percent), 17-year-olds (6 percent) and 18-to-20-year-olds (1.4 percent), according this year’s data.Despite strong protests from parents and education experts, Nahdiana confirmed that the agency would continue to use age in its zoning system and would only evaluate it after this year’s enrollment concluded.“They called it the zoning track and said it would be based on proximity, but now they’re using age to screen students for enrollment?” said Dian Priandini, 35, a parent who lives in Pekayon, East Jakarta.Dian tried to register two of her children at every public high school in her zoning area – to no avail.“I’m so disappointed with this policy. […] I need them to go to a public school. I’m a single parent and can’t afford to send my kids to a private school,” she said.Retno Listyarti, a commissioner with the Indonesian Child Protection Commission (KPAI), said that her office had received many complaints about the school enrollment policy.She said the commission had met with the Jakarta education agency on Thursday to address the problem and added that the agency would seek to mediate with students who were not accepted because of their age.Satriawan Salim, the deputy secretary general of the Federation of Indonesian Teachers Associations (FSGI), said Jakarta’s zoning system possibly violated Education and Culture Ministerial Decree No. 44/2019 on student enrollment.He said the decree stipulated that age could only be used if the entire quota for seats had been filled and there were students on the waiting list whose homes were located a similar distance from a particular school.“Using age as the main requirement in enrollment could potentially violate the decree,” Satria said in a statement.The zoning system, which aims to end elitism at certain schools favored by well-off families, has remained controversial since its introduction in 2016. In 2018, it was discovered that some parents had falsified their wealth and income information so that their children would be included in the special quota for underprivileged families in certain school districts.Topics :last_img read more