JAKARTA (The Jakarta Post/Asia News Network): Islamist Star and Crescent Party (PBB) chair Yusril Ihza Mahendra has called on President Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo to reconsider his policy barring government employees from hosting breaking-of-the-fast meals during Ramadan.
Yusril said in a statement on Thursday (March 23) that the new policy could engender resentment of President Jokowi, especially among devout Muslims.
"I am concerned that the circular could be used as fuel to paint the government as anti-Islam, that President Jokowi is anti-Islam," Yusril said in the statement.
On Tuesday, two days before the start of Ramadan, President Jokowi ordered civil servants to refrain from holding iftar events this year, claiming such gatherings could adversely impact the Covid-19 situation.
"Currently we are in a transition period from a pandemic to an endemic situation, so we need to be very vigilant," Cabinet Secretary Pramono Agung Wibowo wrote in the circular issued on Tuesday.
The ban on holding iftar gatherings is, according to the circular, to be enforced by all ministries, the Indonesian Military (TNI), the National Police, the Attorney General's Office and other government agencies.
The Home Ministry has been charged with communicating the ban to local governments.