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15 May 2020

Health: Growth in active Covid‑19 cases remains slow, but it has accelerated slightly week‑on‑week, reaching 21 percent on 14 May from 16 percent a week earlier.  In part, this may be due to a 24 percent week‑on‑week increase in tests conducted.  However, transmissions are clearly accelerating in East Java, where the governor has pledged to begin enforcing Large-Scale Social Restrictions (PSBB) more stringently.  Cases are also growing in smaller provinces, and 13 May marked the highest daily new cases identified nationwide to date (689).  An exception is West Java, where case growth has slowed and the governor said that hospitalizations are declining.  Overall, relative to many other countries, Indonesia’s transmission rate remains slower and its infections curve flatter (Page 2).  In Jakarta, burials using Covid‑19 protocols remained steady throughout the week.  As for the extraordinarily high total burials in the city in March and April, a theory posits that families who might have ordinarily transported deceased relatives out of Jakarta for burial instead opted to bury them locally – thereby inflating Jakarta’s total burials for those months.  But in the continued absence of clear data, this is only a theory (p. 4).  Testing expanded 24 percent week‑on‑week (p. 6).  Covid-19 Task Force Chair Lt Gen Doni Monardo recommended that employers prioritize the use of young workers, noting that people under 45 account for only 15 percent of all Covid‑19 deaths in Indonesia (p. 7). 

Politics: National Mandate Party (Pan) founder Amien Rais aims to create a new party, but major figures appear reticent to join thus far (p. 10).

Produced since 2003, the Reformasi Weekly Review provides timely, relevant and independent analysis on Indonesian political and policy news.  The writer is Kevin O’Rourke, author of the book Reformasi.  For subscription info please contact: <>.

Policy News: Eight of parliament’s nine parties ratified Decree-in-Lieu-of-Law (Perppu) #1 on Covid‑19 Response Measures, ensuring authority to expand spending and rescue banks.  The measure also cuts corporate tax rates (p. 10).  Parliament hastily passed a revision of the 2009 Mining Law, removing stipulations that jeopardized upcoming contract renewals for several giant coal‑mining operations.  The controversial revision safeguards exports, encourages operators to renew investment and fiscally benefits a hand­ful of already resource‑rich provinces; otherwise, it squanders chances to promote inward investment, improve transparency or meaningfully enhance environmental standards (p. 11).  Two prominent parliamentarians from large parties urged the central bank to expand base money (i.e., print currency) by 50 percent to fund Covid‑19 recovery.  This is highly unlikely to happen, but the episode underscores the difficulty of managing a crisis while legislators push impracticalities (p. 13).  A decree restores health premiums (p. 14).

Appointments: Makassar gained a new interim mayor (p. 15).

Reformasi Weekly Review provides timely, relevant and independent analysis on Indonesian political and policy news. Delivered electronically every Friday, Reformasi Weekly is written by Kevin O’Rourke, author of the book Reformasi. For subscription information please contact. Reformasi Weekly is a product of PT Reformasi Info Sastra.