Remarks of President of the Republic of Indonesia (Through YouTube Video) on Maintaining Balance and Optimism in Strategy for COVID-19 Handling, Saturday, 3 October 2020 in Jakarta
Date 3 Oktober 2020
Assalamu’alaikum warrahmatullahi wabarakatuh,
Ladies and gentlemen,
We have been facing the pandemic for seven months. I am aware that there are still many challenges, but we have accomplished many things. In short, the Government’s strategy from the beginning is to find balance. Once again, find balance.
I reiterate that the public health is still number one and must be prioritized. Making public health a priority does not mean sacrificing the economic sector. If we sacrifice the economy, we sacrifice the lives of tens of millions of people. This is not an option we can take. Once again, we have to find the right balance.
To that end, I and all Government officials always try to find the balance. There is no need to lock down provinces, cities, or regencies, because it will cost the lives of the people. Nevertheless, we are still serious about preventing the spread of the pandemic. How about the result? This is the most important.
Our judgment must be based on facts and data, and not based on “guessing”. I can say that COVID-19 handling in Indonesia is not bad, it is even relatively good. I am talking facts here. In terms of the number of cases and the number of deaths, Indonesia is much better than other countries with large population. It would be better if you make such comparison. If you compare Indonesia to small countries with a small population, of course the comparison cannot describe the real situation.
In terms of the economy, our achievements are not too bad either. Our economy is in decline, yes, that is a fact. Could you name a country that has not reported the economic contraction? There are many other countries that have to bear greater economic burdens. Compared to several other Southeast Asian countries, for example, our economic performance is still better. Again, this is a fact. We must take lessons from this so that we also remain optimistic and not lose hope. Once again, we must remain optimistic.
Ladies and gentlemen, my fellow citizens,
The Government has done a lot, a lot, including various programs in the midst of limited state budget. I take a risk to solve the problem. Please look at the numbers here, we have provided hundreds of trillion to overcome the pandemic as well as to help the people.
Nevertheless, I am not yet satisfied. I demand the Ministers to be better at work, and make the policies that are more targeted. We must continue to improve everything, and we still have a lot of hard work to do. I think we must continue to make policy adjustments, looking for better policies. I call on the public not to hesitate to report. I have ordered Minister of Home Affairs to continue to encourage local governments to open channels for complaints and advice for future policy improvements.
After seven months, we can learn a lot from the pandemic, including about social restrictions. I think we have to adjust it. To that end, I emphasize the importance of micro-scale social restrictions, or mini lockdowns. We make it more focused and specific to overcome the problem of COVID-19 but not sacrificing the economy and the people’s lives, this is what we have to do.
The policy adjustment does not mean that the Government is not firm. COVID-19 is something new. The whole world is facing the same situation, no country has yet dared to claim that it has found the best solution, each country has different problems and different ways of handling it, so we must continue to adjust ourselves, looking for the best way that best fits our situation. Again, our achievements so far are not bad, the figures are clear, but don’t be complacent, we have to be vigilant, we have to keep working hard.
The epidemic should not be underestimated, this is reality. However, do not be pessimistic. In the last seven months Indonesia has proven capable of overcoming the problem. Not perfect? Yes, but we can fix it together. Overcoming the pandemic is indeed difficult. It requires a collective hard work, and I am sure we will be able to do it. The important thing is that in a situation like this, there should be no polemic and uproar.
Ladies and gentlemen, my fellow citizens,
I would like to extend my appreciation to doctors, nurses, medical personnel, the Indonesian National Defense Forces (TNI), the Indonesian National Police (Polri), state apparatus (ASN), and also the volunteers. No less important is the role of the community to change, adapt, and comply with health protocols. Do it with 3M discipline: wear a mask, keep your distance, and wash your hands. Stay optimistic in overcoming the problems.
I believe that if we protect each other, help each other, and remind each other, we will be able to get through the tough situation. May Allah the Almighty God bless all the efforts we have done and the efforts we will do, so that we can overcome the crisis.
I thank you.
Wassalamu’alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh.
Translated by Ridwan Ibadurrohman
Reviewed by Lulu Wuliarti