Editor’s note: This article has been updated with the latest statement from PT KCI and the latest official figures on coronavirus cases.Topics : Jakartans must now brace themselves for large-scale social restrictions set to be imposed in the capital for two weeks starting Friday, as the hardest-hit city struggles to curb the surging number of coronavirus cases.The measure, which will be in place until April 24, will restrict people’s movement in Jakarta as the operational hours of public transportation will be limited, with residents told to stay at home and avoid any unnecessary travel.Public transportation services will limit passenger numbers to only 50 percent of their normal capacity and will only run for 12 hours, from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.While access to and from Jakarta will remain open, the number of people commuting from satellite cities to the capital will, therefore, also be limited, Jakarta Transportation Agency head Syafrin Liputo said.The latest data on Thursday afternoon showed that the number of infected people in Jakarta had reached 1,706, making up more than half of the country’s official tally of 3,293 cases. The capital recorded 142 fatalities from the disease out of the nationwide death toll of 280.Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan is expected to soon issue a decree on the social restrictions in the capital city, the first in the country to impose such stronger mobility restrictions to battle the coronavirus.Here’s what you need to know about the operation of public transportation services in Jakarta during the large-scale social restrictions.Read also: Jakarta will impose stronger mobility restrictions on Friday. Here’s what you need to know.TransJakarta busFrom Friday until April 24, TransJakarta’s operational hours will be restricted from 6 a.m to 6 p.m. The city-owned bus operator said in that TransJakarta buses would only operate through its 13 main corridors, namely:1. Blok M (South Jakarta) – Kota (West Jakarta)2. Pulo Gadung 1 (East Jakarta) – Harmoni (Central Jakarta) 3. Kalideres (West Jakarta) – Pasar Baru (Central Jakarta)4. Pulo Gadung 2 – Tosari (Central Jakarta)5. Kampung Melayu (East Jakarta) – Ancol (North Jakarta)6. Ragunan (South Jakarta) – Halimun (South Jakarta)7. Kampung Rambutan (East Jakarta) – Kampung Melayu8. Lebak Bulus (South Jakarta) – Harmoni9. Pinang Ranti (East Jakarta) – Pluit (North Jakarta)10. PGC 2 (East Jakarta) – Tanjung Priok (North Jakarta)11. Kampung Melayu – Pulo Gebang (South Jakarta)12. Penjaringan (North Jakarta) – Sunter Boulevard Barat (North Jakarta)13. Puri Beta (Tangerang) – Blok M”Passenger numbers on articulated buses will be limited to 60, while big buses are only allowed to carry 30 passengers and for small buses, 15 passengers,” Transjakarta said in a statement on Wednesday.Passengers and employees are required to wear a two-layered fabric mask as a precautionary measure, the company said.Residents ride on the LRT Jakarta during a public trial in Kelapa Gading in North Jakarta on Tuesday, June 11, 2019. (JP/Eisya A.)MRT JakartaThe MRT, connecting Lebak Bulus in South Jakarta to the Hotel Indonesia traffic circle in Central Jakarta, will remain open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.City-owned PT MRT Jakarta president director William Sabandar said in a statement on Wednesday that the MRT would only carry a maximum of 60 passengers per train car.Passengers of the MRT are also required to wear a two-layered fabric mask upon entering MRT stations and for the duration of the trip.LRT JakartaLRT Jakarta will also be operating from 6 a.m to 6 p.m starting Friday. The operator also stated that each train car of the LRT, currently serving only the Kelapa Gading-Velodrome line, will allow a maximum of 30 people.The LRT will still implement a 30-minute headway during the COVID-19 pandemic.Commuter LinePT Kereta Commuter Indonesia (KCI), which operates the commuter line, said it would also limit passenger numbers in each train car to 60 people per trip.In a statement on Thursday evening, KCI said that the commuter line, which serves a number of routes connecting areas in Greater Jakarta, will also change its operational hours to 6 a.m. until 6 p.m. starting Friday. “The adjustment refers to the PSBB, which will limit people’s mobility so as to ensure that efforts to curb COVID-19 transmission can take place effectively,” KCI president director Wiwik Widayanti said.With the 12-hour operational schedule, the commuter line will make 683 trips each day for two weeks during the PSBB.
The International Monetary Fund on Monday announced immediate debt relief for 25 poor countries to help them free up funds to fight the coronavirus pandemic.”This provides grants to our poorest and most vulnerable members to cover their IMF debt obligations for an initial phase over the next six months and will help them channel more of their scarce financial resources towards vital emergency medical and other relief efforts,” IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said in a statement.The IMF board approved the debt relief for the countries, nearly all in Africa, but also Afghanistan, Yemen, Nepal and Haiti. The fund together with the World Bank have called for rich nations to stop collecting debt payments from poor countries from May 1 through June 2021.The debt relief will be funded by the IMF’s Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust (CCRT), which was first set up to combat the West Africa Ebola outbreak in 2015 and has been repurposed to help countries fend off COVID-19.The fund currently has $500 million, with Japan, Britain, China and the Netherlands among its main contributors.”I urge other donors to help us replenish the trust’s resources and boost further our ability to provide additional debt service relief for a full two years to our poorest member countries,” Georgieva said. Last week, the World bank said it would roll out $160 billion in emergency aid over 15 months to help countries stricken by the virus, including $14 billion in debt repayments from 76 poor countries to other governments. Topics :
Indonesian Medical Association (IDI) spokesperson Halik Malik said the association fully supported the telemedicine platforms, which is endorsed by the government, in providing health services for the public, especially during the pandemic.”Telemedicine was designed for teleconsultations, but a further physical examination is still needed for diagnosis and treatment,” Halik told The Jakarta Post on Monday. “But at least, it can reduce unnecessary visits to health facilities.”According to Halik, the association encouraged doctors nationwide to provide medical consultations through online platforms so that people can access medical information from home.One of the leading telemedicine platforms in Indonesia, Alodokter, has seen a spike in user traffic in recent months. Read also: Amid pandemic, a turning point for telemedicineAccording to Alodokter partnership vice president Agustine Gunawan, the platform has recorded 61 million web visits and had more than 33 million active users in March. The app has also been downloaded more than 5.5 million and the number of patient-doctor interactions has increased to more than 750,000 last month.”It recorded approximately 1.5 times higher than the usual platform’s traffic before the coronavirus outbreak,” Agustine told the Post on Monday. “However, in comparison to last month, people nowadays are relatively asking about non-coronavirus-related health issues, such as what medicine to take if you feel unwell at home and so forth,” she added.Meanwhile, another app, Halodoc, launched a service on Monday that enables users to make appointments for COVID-19 rapid tests or real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests at 20 hospitals in Greater Jakarta and Karawang municipality in West Java. The platform has formed partnerships with five private hospital chains, namely Mitra Keluarga hospitals, St. Carolus hospitals, Mayapada hospitals, Primaya hospitals and Bina Husada Cibinong hospital.”We’ve seen more people become aware of health and they come to our platforms for health consultations,” Halodoc CEO Jonathan Sudharta said in a statement on Monday.The platform allows users to directly communicate with doctors through chats, calls and videos, as well as get prescribed medicine delivered to their homes, arrange appointments for doctor visits and lab services.Having used the Alodokter platform for nearly a year, Renza Elma Pramitha, 25, a resident of Sidoarjo in East Java, was among those who still anxiously checked about COVID-19 through virtual medical consultations.”I was feeling unwell last night and I had a consultation through Alodokter to check whether or not I have COVID-19 symptoms,” she told the Post.”I was anxious about the coronavirus transmission, especially since my husband still goes to work and meets a lot of people every day. My husband and I typically get sick easily.”Even though Renza didn’t receive any prescriptions through her free consultation session, she was relieved to actually talk to a medical expert about her current condition.Read also: Quarantined doctors turn to video chats so they can see patientsFor a stay-at-home mother like Ayu Farida, 26, who has a 5-month old baby, visiting hospitals during this current situation is terrifying.”My son was having a skin rash this morning and I was scared to meet a lot of people in hospitals. The telemedicine app gave me methods to handle the skin rash on my own at home,” she said.”Some suggestions did not work as it was hard to make a diagnosis when there was no direct physical examination. But at least telemedicine is fast and sometimes free.”Rahma Amelia, 25, a full-time employee of a government agency in Sidoarjo, had a similar experience. She recently used the HaloDoc app for an ear infection. Working from home did not necessarily give her free time to visit a doctor as she had to be productive at home.”It was relatively cheap and helpful for full-time workers as the medicine was delivered to my home,” she said.Topics : The use of virtual medical services has climbed in recent months as people try to contain the spread of COVID-19 at hospitals and clinics in Indonesia, telemedicine platforms have reported.As the telemedicine trend has already risen in the country, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo addressed his appreciation toward the business on Monday, hoping that the platforms would grow even more. “I think that medical consultations through advanced technology, or telemedicine, should be enhanced so that we could limit direct contact between doctors and patients [during the pandemic],” said the President during a Cabinet meeting at the State Palace complex on Monday.
Indonesian airlines are focusing on cargo services to offset the losses incurred from the government’s temporary ban on passenger flights to slow the spread of COVID-19.With the ban to last until May 31, low cost carriers such as PT Citilink Indonesia, PT Lion Mentari Airlines and PT AirAsia Indonesia, have pledged to utilize their aircraft and flight slots for cargo services, including to ship medical equipment.Indonesian airlines are struggling for survival amid the COVID-19 pandemic, having booked a total revenue loss of Rp 207 billion (US$13.4 million) as of April 15, according to Finance Ministry data. “The Lion Air Group is using passenger aircraft because it does not have cargo aircraft,” Danang told The Jakarta Post via text message on Monday.The full-service subsidiary of Lion Air Group, PT Batik Air Indonesia, previously used its Airbus 320 to deliver medical supplies, including more than 8,500 kilograms of medicines from China on April 20.PT AirAsia Indonesia also announced on Thursday that it would focus its services on chartered flights for transporting COVID-19 aid and supplies, as well as helping with the repatriation of Indonesian citizens abroad.Before the government announced the temporary ban on passenger flights, the airline industry had already been hard hit by the COVID-19 outbreak, with people choosing not to travel in compliance with physical distancing guidelines.According to data from the Indonesia National Air Carrier Association (INACA), flight frequency had declined to just 20 percent of normal levels.Despite efforts to ramp up cargo services, INACA data show that the volume of domestic and international airfreight in Indonesia had dropped 39 percent from the average rate.Global freight demand had also dropped 15.2 percent by March compared to last year, while global capacity has fallen 22.7 percent, raising concerns about disruption to logistics, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) reported.State-owned airport operator PT Angkasa Pura II has provided support to airlines by granting access to warehouse facilities via its subsidiaries PT Angkasa Pura Kargo and PT Gapura Angkasa to handle products purchased via e-commerce platforms and medical equipment. “At the moment, cargo shipment capacity is below normal levels, when there are many regular flights. But the current capacity is sufficient to maintain cargo traffic in general,” Angkasa Pura II president director Muhammad Awaluddin said in a statement on Tuesday.Gapura Angkasa, which owns a more than 8,900-square-meter warehouse at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Tangerang, Banten, has provided access to facilities like cold storage and animal storage facilities.In the first quarter this year, the airport operator reported that its airports handled shipments of 62,000 tons of cargo per month, 68 percent of which was handled at Soekarno-Hatta airport alone. In 2018, Soekarno-Hatta airport, which has the largest annual cargo capacity of any airport in the country, managed shipments of 760,000 tons of cargo, exceeding its capacity by 26.6 percent.In addition to Soekarno-Hatta airport, Angkasa Pura II, which manages 19 airports across the country, has also offered to manage cargo services at its other airports, including Halim Perdanakusuma in East Jakarta and Sultan Syarif Kasim II in Pekanbaru, Riau.“If the cabin [in the passenger aircraft] can be used to store cargo, the loading and unloading process will be faster compared to storing it in the belly,” said Awaluddin.With the airline industry experiencing a downturn due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the airport operator has slashed its expected annual revenue to around 70 percent of its initial target of Rp 12.8 trillion.Topics : Citilink, which normally operates more than 330 passenger flights daily, currently ships goods through charter and regular flights to various cities within the country and to countries like China and Singapore.“Citilink has been operating cargo flights to help with the distribution of supplies to several regions,” president director Juliandra said in a statement released Monday. “We apply disinfectant to the cabin and compartments to ensure the hygiene of the aircraft when delivering the goods.”For its cargo services, Citilink utilizes its Airbus A320 and Airbus A330 aircraft, which have a 15 ton and 24 ton cargo capacity, respectively.Meanwhile, Lion Air Group, the parent company of Lion Mentari Airlines, is also using its passenger aircraft for its cargo business, according to the firm’s strategic corporate communications head Danang Mandala Prihantoro. Lion Air previously served 630 flights daily,
Her statement, which did not say what the next action could be, came days after South Korea took legal action against defectors who have been sending material such as rice and anti-North leaflets, usually by balloon over the heavily fortified border or in bottles by sea.North Korea said it has been angered by the defectors and in the past week severed inter-Korean hotlines and threatened to close a liaison office between the two governments.As part of the effort to improve ties with the North, South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s administration has sought to discourage the leaflet and rice campaigns, and defectors have complained of pressure to avoid criticism of North Korea.On Sunday, South Korea’s National Security Council meeting was held with security and diplomatic chiefs in attendance, “to examine the current situation of the (Korean) peninsula,” the presidential Blue House said without elaborating further. Separately, South Korea’s Unification Ministry released a statement asking the North to honour inter-Korean agreements reached in the past.”The South and the North should try to honour all inter-Korean agreements reached,” the ministry said in a statement.”The government is taking the current situation seriously.”The escalation of tension comes a day ahead of the 20th anniversary of the first inter-Korean summit in 2000, which pledged increased dialogue and cooperation between the two states.In 2018, the leaders of the two countries signed a declaration agreeing to work for the “complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula” and cease “hostile acts.”Analysts say North Korea appears to be using the leaflet issue to increase pressure on South Korea amid stalled denuclearisation talks.”The leaflets are an excuse or justification to raise the ante, manufacture a crisis, and bully Seoul to get what it wants,” said Duyeon Kim, a senior advisor at the International Crisis Group, a Belgium-based independent non-profit organisation.Pyongyang feels betrayed and misled by Seoul’s prediction that the United States would lift some sanctions in exchange for North Korea closing its nuclear reactor site, and is upset that leaflets and U.S.-South Korea military drills continue, Kim said.”They’re upset that Seoul has done nothing to change the environment and is again telling Seoul to stay out of its nuclear talks with Washington,” she added.Topics : The sister of North Korea’s leader has warned of retaliatory measures against South Korea that could involve the military, in the latest escalation of tensions over defectors from the North who have been sending back propaganda and food.Kim Yo Jong, who serves unofficially as one of Kim Jong Un’s top aides, issued the warning in a statement carried by state news agency KCNA on Saturday.”By exercising my power authorized by the Supreme Leader, our Party and the state, I gave an instruction to the … department in charge of the affairs with (the) enemy to decisively carry out the next action,” Kim said.
“These tax incentives are given to stabilize the economy, as well as to boost purchasing power and productivity,” Ihsan told reporters during a press briefing on Thursday.The incentives will take the form of individual income tax exemptions, import tax deferral and corporate income tax cuts from 25 percent to 22 percent this year and to 20 percent starting 2022, among other incentives, for almost all business sectors.According to the ministry’s data, the trade sector received more than 50 percent of the incentives, followed by manufacturing, services as well as food and beverage.Around 150,000 individual taxpayers have received individual income tax exemption, while nearly 200,000 micro, small and medium enterprises received the government’s relief. The Indonesian government has allocated Rp 695.2 trillion (US$49.3 billion) worth of COVID-19 spending to boost economic growth and strengthen the healthcare system amid the pandemic. This includes Rp 120.61 trillion allocated by the government to provide tax relief for individuals and businesses affected by the pandemic.Read also: Indonesia increases COVID-19 budget again amid soaring deficitThe coronavirus pandemic has ravaged the country’s economy, which government officials expect to contract 0.4 percent this year under a worst-case scenario or grow by 1 percent under the baseline scenario. Indonesia’s gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 2.97 percent year-on-year (yoy) in the first quarter, the weakest rate since 2001.At the same time, the government has been struggling to collect more revenue to fund its cash-strapped budget as the COVID-19 pandemic hits almost all business sectors. Ministry data show that state revenue this year has reached Rp 664.3 trillion as of May, down 9 percent yoy, as tax income dropped 10.8 percent yoy to Rp 444.6 trillion.The government expects this year’s budget deficit to reach 6.34 percent as it ramps up spending to fight the coronavirus amid slumping income.Topics : Nearly 400,000 individual and corporate taxpayers have applied for tax incentives as the coronavirus pandemic has disrupted economic activity, according to the tax office.The Taxation Directorate General’s director for tax compliance and income, Ihsan Priyawibawa, said the government had agreed to grant the incentives to 360,818 or 93 percent of the applicants, adding that the office had rejected the rest of the applications over administrative issues.Read also: Six tech firms ready to collect VAT, Finance Ministry says
The Model Y now starts at $49,990, down nearly 6 percent from its previous price of $52,990, according to the carmaker’s website.Tesla did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.The company started deliveries of the Model Y in March, promising a much-awaited crossover that will face competition from European carmakers like Volkswagen AG rolling out their own electric rivals.In April, Tesla had said the Model Y was already profitable, marking the first time in the company’s 17-year history that one of its new vehicles turned a profit in its first quarter.Topics : Tesla Inc cut the price of its sport utility vehicle Model Y by US$3,000, just four months after its launch, as the US electric carmaker seeks to maintain sales momentum in the COVID-19 pandemic.The reduction follows price cuts in May on Tesla’s Model 3, Model X and Model S.The company headed by Elon Musk this month posted a smaller-than-expected fall in car deliveries in the second quarter, resilient results despite the pandemic that hit the global auto industry.
Police in Chile are training dogs to detect people that may be infected with the novel coronavirus by sniffing their sweat.The dogs — three golden retrievers and a labrador — are between the ages of four and five. Until now they have been used to sniff out illicit drugs, explosives and lost people, police say.The training program is a joint effort by Chile’s national police, the Carabineros, and specialists at the Universidad Catolica de Chile. Medical Detection Dogs, a British charity set up in 2008 to harness dogs’ sharp sense of smell to detect human diseases, also started training canines to detect COVID-19 in late March. It follows in the footsteps of similar efforts taking place in France, said Julio Santelices, head of the police school of specialties.Dogs have 330 million olfactory receptors, and an ability to detect smells 50 times better than humans. They can also smell 250 people per hour.”The virus has no smell, but rather the infection generates metabolic changes” which in turn leads to the release of a particular type of sweat “which is what the dog would detect,” Fernando Mardones, a Universidad Catolica professor of veterinary epidemiology, told AFP.According to Santelices, tests in Europe and Dubai shown a 95 percent efficiency rate in canine detection of COVID-19 cases. Four-legged biodetectors “The importance of this scientific study is that it will allow dogs to become biodetectors, and detect this type of illness at an early stage,” Santelices told AFP.Mardones said that there is already evidence that dogs can detect diseases such as tuberculosis, parasite infections, and even early stages of cancer.Canines can detect subtle changes in skin temperature, potentially making them useful in determining if a person has a fever.According to the World Organization for Animal Health, the possibility of contagion from a dog is remote.The canine trainees began their education one month ago, and will use sweat samples taken from COVID-19 patients being treated at the Universidad Catolica’s clinic.The experts hope to have the dogs trained and working in the field by August. The plan is to deploy them with an officer in pedestrian-heavy areas such as train stations and airports, and at health control stations.Chile on Tuesday reported 1,836 new cases of COVID-19 — the lowest figure in two months — bringing the total of cases since March 3 to 319,493.The viral infection has killed more than 11,000 people, according to the most recent Health Ministry official report, which includes “probable” COVID-19 victims. Topics :
The OJK has not responded to the Post’s request for comment at the time of writing.Hariyono hinted that Bank Mayapada would be upgrading to a BUKU IV bank, or banks with a core capital of over Rp 30 trillion (US$2.08 billion), upon completion of the deal. The bank is now in the BUKU II category with a core capital between Rp 5 trillion and Rp 30 trillion. Throughout the year, shareholders have been funneling funds to strengthen the bank’s capital. Read also: Letting BI supervise banks could backfire, experts warnIt received a deposit of Rp 1 trillion by its controlling shareholder in two injections worth Rp 750 billion on July 1 and Rp 252 billion on April 24, according to its statement on July 3 as published by the Indonesia Stock Exchange (IDX).PT Mayapada Karunia channeled Rp 230 billion out of the Rp 252 billion in April, while PT Mayapada Kasih funneled Rp 22.09 billion, according to a statement on the IDX website on April 28. “The fund placement strengthened [the bank’s] capital and is part of the company’s plan to carry out rights issues in 2020 worth a total of Rp 4.5 trillion,” the bank’s statement says.A rights issue is usually offered when a company needs to raise capital by offering its shareholders the chance to buy newly issued shares at a discounted price. In the first quarter of this year, Bank Mayapada’s net profit plunged by 44.52 percent to Rp 79.22 billion from Rp 142.78 trillion in the same period last year.Its non-performing loans (NPL) stands at 6.94 percent as of March 31, up from 4.99 percent last year and above the OJK health threshold of 5 percent. The banking industry’s NPL, on the other hand, is at 2.77 percent in March, showing an upward trend as people’s purchasing power declined during the pandemic.Bank Mayapada’s shares, traded on the IDX under the code MAYA, have lost 28.57 percent of its value as of Monday. Throughout the same period, the finance sector was down by 17.5 percent while the benchmark Jakarta Composite Index declined by 19.61 percent. Read also: Bukopin inches closer to solving liquidity problems, regaining customer trustAviliani, a senior economist at the Institute for Development of Economics and Finance (Indef), told the Post on June 12 that foreign banks were attracted to Indonesia’s banking industry for its growth prospects. “Investing in developing countries, including Indonesia, is seen to have very big market potential. Secondly, they [foreign entities] see that the profit margin is still quite high,” Aviliani said.There have been several notable foreign acquisitions of Indonesian banks this year. In June, the OJK confirmed KB Kookmin Bank’s acquisition of Bank Bukopin with a $200 million deposit into an escrow account as part of the South Korean bank’s commitment. In May, Thailand’s Bangkok Bank completed the acquisition of Permata Bank through a $2.3 billion deal. Despite falling net interest margins (NIM), Indonesia’s banking industry’s NIM was still considered attractive relative to countries in the region, she added. According to OJK data, Indonesia’s NIM was at 4.57 percent in April. Meanwhile, Bank Mayapada’s NIM was recorded lower at 3.03 percent as of March 31, a significant downfall from 6.78 percent booked last year.Topics : Taiwan-based Cathay Life Insurance, a subsidiary of Cathay Financial Holdings, is preparing to increase its ownership of PT Bank Mayapada Internasional (Bank Mayapada), the bank’s executive says. The publicly listed insurance company now owns 37.33 percent of Bank Mayapada, making it the bank’s biggest shareholder, followed by PT Mayapada Karunia Corporation, which owns 26.42 percent of the total shares. “Cathay Life insurance is one of the controlling shareholders of Bank Mayapada at the moment. They do have a desire to increase their ownership as part of their long-term strategy,” Bank Mayapada president director Hariyono Tjahjarijadi told The Jakarta Post on Monday. “In regard to the number of shares, what the composition of ownership will look like and when, are still being prepared by Cathay.”Read also: Government gives LPS more power to prevent bank failureThe Financial Services Authority (OJK) has reportedly given Cathay the green light to acquire 51 percent of the bank’s shares or more, which will make Cathay majority shareholder.“Cathay is doing its due diligence right now,” OJK deputy commissioner for banking supervision Slamet Edy Purnomo told tempo.co on Sunday. “As long as it has a commitment to better bank development, Cathay is a major company that doesn’t need to be doubted anymore.”
The Supreme Court has issued a new regulation that encourages judges to sentence those found guilty in high-profile corruption cases that cause massive state losses to life in prison, in a move designed to eliminate years of inconsistent sentencing by the judiciary.The court issued on July 24 a set of guidelines for punishing graft convicts, which are laid out in Supreme Court Regulation (Perma) No. 1/2020.The new regulation provides pointers for determining the appropriate punishment for those found guilty of misappropriating state funds for personal gain, as stipulated in Article 2 of the 2001 Corruption Law. Judges are also advised to hand down appropriate sentences for those convicted of abuse of power or position, as stated in Article 3 of the Corruption Law.Those accused of violating Article 2 of the law can face between four- and 20-years’ imprisonment, as well as fines ranging from Rp 200 million (US$14,285) to Rp 1 billion, while those found guilty of violating Article 3 will face one to 20 years’ imprisonment and fines of Rp 50 million to Rp 1 billion.Prior to the regulation, Indonesian corruption court judges often used their own criteria and standards for issuing sentences to graft convicts. With the new set of guidelines, they are expected to mete out punishment based on the size of state losses incurred from the wrongdoing.Judges must consider handing down the harshest sentence if defendants cause state losses amounting to more than Rp 100 billion, and hand down the minimum if state losses fall between Rp 200 million and Rp 1 billion under Article 2 or less than Rp 200 million under Article 3. To determine the most appropriate sentence, judges also need to assess the defendants’ level of culpability. Maximum sentences may be meted out against those who initiate the crime, have a significant role in the case, use sophisticated technology to commit a crime or committed the crime during a national disaster or an economic crisis.“Despite the regulation, judges still need to base their sentencing on principles such as independence, professionalism and accountability,” Supreme Court spokesman Andi Samsan Nganro told The Jakarta Post on Tuesday.For years, law experts and civil groups have called the Supreme Court to draft sentencing guidelines to prevent inconsistencies in doling out sentences.Court judges have been criticized for failing to interpret corruption law and meting out inappropriate punishments to graft defendants, reflected in the wide variety of graft sentences among equally culpable convicts.Such inconsistencies have led law experts and activists to question whether judges can uphold the principles of justice and a fair trial when dealing with corruption cases.In July last year, judges at the Makassar Corruption Court in South Sulawesi handed former Batugulung village head Muh. Said 2.5 years in prison for embezzling Rp 542 million in village funds between 2015 and 2018.In a separate but similar case, the Banjarmasin Corruption Court in South Kalimantan found former Hambuku village head Datmi guilty of embezzling Rp 43 million in village funds – Datmi received a harsher four-year sentence.Many more inconsistencies have been uncovered over the years, but Supreme Court spokesman Andi said that such incidents had provided the court with motivation to issue the strict provisions.“And we have worked closely with the University of Indonesia’s Judicial Watch Society [MaPPI] since 2018 to formulate the guidelines,” he said.Trisakti University law expert Abdul Fickar Hadjar applauded the move, saying that he expected that it would not only eliminate disparities in graft sentencing but also prevent judges from misusing their authority – and even accepting bribes – to conspire with defendants.Zaenur Rohman, a researcher from Gadjah Mada University’s Center for Anti-Corruption Studies (Pukat UGM), expressed appreciation for the court on the one hand, but also criticized the limited scope of the guidelines’ use.“Judges can only use the guidelines to hand down sentences against violators of Articles 2 and 3 of the Corruption Law. But how about other types of crimes under the same law, like bribery, extortion and gratuity taking?” he said.“The guidelines are still not perfect.”Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) spokesman Ali Fikri also expressed similar concerns to Zaenur, but still believed that the guidelines would put an end to graft-sentencing disparities.To follow-up the guidelines, the commission is now arranging a list of similar guidelines for KPK prosecutors when indicting graft defendants.He said guidance was needed because KPK prosecutors also played a significant part in sentencing disparities. At times, they would press different charges and indict differently against equally culpable defendants, which would affect a final ruling by the judge when he or she meted out the punishment.“We are now in the process of finalizing the drafting of the guide,” Ali said.Topics :