Press Statement of Minister of Foreign Affairs After A Limited Cabinet Meeting (through Video Conference) on the Influx of Indonesia Citizens Returning from Overseas and Cross-border Restrictions on Foreigners Tuesday, 31 March 2020 at Bogor Presidential Palace, West Java
Date 1 April 2020
Minister of Foreign Affairs Retno L.P. Marsudi
Dear journalist friends,
In a bid to response to the increasingly spread of COVID-19 in almost every country in the world, President Jokowi has just chaired a Limited Cabinet Meeting today to discuss two things. The first is regarding the influx of Indonesian citizens returning from Overseas, the second is the regulation of traffic for the visit or transit of foreigners to Indonesian territory.
As you know, the Indonesian Government continues to work to combat the spread of COVID-19 domestically and to protect Indonesian citizens overseas as best as it can at the same time. The President clearly stated the importance of providing protection to Indonesian citizens overseas as well as protecting the health of Indonesian citizens against the possibility of COVID-19 exposure and at the same time protecting the territory and people of the country against the possibility of further exposure to COVID-19. We also understand, as the Coordinating Minister said earlier, that almost every country has restricted the movement of people with all its variations, which, of course, is adjusted to the situation and conditions of each country.
There is no policy that can fit for all. These policies certainly has an impact on the presence of Indonesian citizens overseas, as the Coordinating Minister for Human Development and Culture has said. One of them is related to the influx of our citizens returning to Indonesia in greater numbers than the usual. We try to see that from the clusters of returning citizens, there are two very prominent groups at the moment, namely the ones from Malaysia as a result of the implementation of the MCO (movement control order) and the second is the returning of Indonesian ship crews as a result of the temporary operation suspension of the cruise ships in which they work.
In the midst of those various restrictions in respective countries, the missions of the Republic of Indonesia overseas continue to try to provide maximum assistance to Indonesian citizens who are affected by the rules, including the matters related to the return of citizens from Malaysia and also the ship crew. Later, I will also separately address the issue of Jamaah Tabligh members.
As you know, in terms of numbers, our citizens who live and work in Malaysia are certain to exceed 1 million people, so the number is quite large. From our report, the number of crew members who work on cruise ships is around 11,838 people that spread on 80 ships and the number may change over time based on the data submitted to us.
I would like to give a few examples of assistance that have been provided by our missions overseas. For example, we ensure that the rights of our cruise ships crew members are fulfilled by the companies in which they work. Another example, this morning at 5 o’clock, or 6 o’clock in Malaysia, I contacted our Consulate General in Johor Baru, who at that time was at the Port of Stulang Laut to ensure that the returning process of our fellow Indonesians could run smoothly. I also communicated with the Consulate General in Kuching and they continue to provide assistance to our citizens who really wanted to go home. As for (Indonesians from) Kuching, they return to Indonesia through the land border.
Regarding the Jamaah Tabligh, from our report, I want to reiterate that we don’t have the exact number but at least from the data we have obtained so far, the number of Jamaah Tabligh members are around 1,456 and 731 of them are in India.
Previously, the Coordinating Minister had conveyed the health protocol in force upon arrival of the Indonesian citizens at the entrance points in the country. Some of the protocols that we have implemented and will continue to enforce include additional health checks at the Arrival Gate. Secondly, they are required to fill out a health alert card prepared by Ministry of Health. The Coordinating Minister has also said that those who show symptoms will be quarantined separately and undergo further treatment. For those who have no symptoms, it is strongly recommended that they perform self-quarantine for 14 days.
In the meeting, Minister of Communications and Informatics delivered about the PeduliLindungi application that can be used to monitor our movements. So I invite you all to use the app to protect ourselves and our surroundings.
The Coordinating Minister has conveyed this but I want to add a little, the points of entrances (to the country) will be strengthened and empowered so that health checks and other health protocols that I have mentioned earlier can be performed there .
For the case in Malaysia, so far our Mission there has tried to provide logistic supports to our citizens. Up to now, there is more than three thousand logistic supports provided and we will continue this, of course with consideration to the needs and situations in Malaysia. Since the logistic supports are carried out in another country, we will continue to coordinate with the Malaysian authorities.
And regarding the matter of regulating the traffic of foreigners visiting to and in transit in Indonesian territory, President Jokowi has decided that the existing policies need to be strengthened. So I repeat, existing policies need to be strengthened.
And we decided to ban temporarily all visits and transit of foreign nationals to Indonesian territory. Of course, there are a number of exceptions to the entry ban, namely for the Temporary Stay Permit Card (KITAS) holders, the Permanent Stay Permit Card (KITAP) holders, diplomatic residence permit holders, official residence permit holders, and others while taking into account the implementation of strict and applicable health protocols. Once more, there are exceptions, but in general we temporarily ban all foreign nationals’ visits and transits to Indonesian territory. Details of this policy will be conveyed on separate occasion. And this new policy will be set forth in a new Regulation of Minister of Law and Human Rights .
And that concludes my statement.
Wassalamu’alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh.
Translated by : Galuh Wicaksono H
Reviewed by : Lulu Wuliarti