JAKARTA (The Jakarta Post/Asia News Network): Administrative and Bureaucratic Reform Minister Abdullah Azwar Anas said that the regulation to bar government employees from holding Iftar dinner was mandatory for civil servants and that he would enforce the ban with no exception.
"All ministers, heads of agencies down to local government leaders have to comply with this new rule. Yet for the general public, there's no prohibition on doing that," Azwar was quoted by Antara as saying.
Azwar said that the ban had in fact been implemented last year, when the country was still more vigilant about the Covid-19 pandemic.
"This was implemented last year. The point is we need to continue being very careful because we're still transitioning from Covid-19 toward an endemic status," he said.
On Tuesday, President Joko Widodo issued a circular banning government employees from holding breaking-the-fast Iftar dinners as a precautionary measure to guard against the spike in Covid-19 cases.
A number of Muslim leaders have urged President Jokowi to reconsider the ban, saying that it could backfire on the government.
Islamist Star and Crescent Party (PBB) chair Yusril Ihza Mahendra Yusril said in a statement on Thursday that the new policy could engender resentment of President Jokowi, especially among devout Muslims.