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The deaths of over 500 members of polling station working committees across the country and sickness of several thousands of others after fulfilling their electoral duties have not merely brought miseries., Jakarta – Indonesia has held its first simultaneous parliamentary and presidential elections on April 17 peacefully but, the aftermath of the election day becomes a season of mourning for so many families who lost their beloved who worked at polling stations.

The deaths of over 500 members of polling station working committees across the country and sickness of several thousands of others after fulfilling their electoral duties have not merely brought miseries but have also left a mystery over the causing factors.

Among the polling station workers who passed away are Neneng Kharisma, a resident of Biringbulu Subdistrict in Gowa District, South Sulawesi Province, and Muriah, a resident of Labuhan Haji Barat Subdistrict in South Aceh District, Aceh Province.

Kharisma who was responsible for Polling Station number 004 in Julukanaya Village was reported by to fall sick by “vomiting blood” on April 18 while doing a vote recapitulation process. This 22-year-old woman then died on May 10.

Muriah, a resident of Peulokan Village in Labuhan Haji Barat Subdistrict, South Aceh District, reportedly died of exhaustion due to the strain of overwork.

Regarding the causes of these polling station workers’ deaths and illnesses, the General Elections Commission (KPU) argued that they were related to exhaustion and traffic accidents amid their hectic work schedules.

The government officials and KPU commissioners call those who died while doing their electoral duties as the heroes and heroines of democracy, and each of their heirs is then provided by the government with a compensation payment of Rp36 million.

The payment of compensation for the heirs of the dead polling station workers is appreciated but various elements in the society demand for a credible answer to the causes of their deaths.

Political analyst Rocky Gerung opined that the death toll of those working at the polling stations has been similar to the total number of passengers of a jumbo jet.

Therefore, when speaking at TV One news channel’s talkshow program on May 7, he bluntly supported an endeavor of Ani Hasibuan, a medical doctor who voluntarily conducted a research project on the causes of the polling station workers’ deaths.

In addition to individuals, like dr.Ani Hasibuan, several reputable institutions have also shown their willingness to conduct thorough and comprehensive studies on the reasons for the deaths of those polling station staff.

Among them are Yogyakarta-based Gadjah Mada University (UGM), National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM), and Jakarta-based Medical Emergency Rescue Committee (MER-C).

On May 5, Gadjah Mada University (UGM) has hinted that it would conduct an interdisciplinary research project to reveal the factors that led to the deaths and illnesses of the polling station working committee members.

According to Abdul Ghaffar, coordinator of the UGM’s Working Research Group on General Elections, the research project involving scientists from Medical School, as well as Faculties of Public Health, Psychology, and Social and Political Sciences, would be conducted for several weeks.

In connection with this interdisciplinary research project, Dean of UGM’s Faculty of Social and Political Sciences Erwan Agus Purwanto said his university’s team members would collaborate with their colleagues from 10 other universities.

Among the public universities that would also be involved in this research project are the University of Indonesia, Lampung University, Airlangga University, and Cendrawasih University.

​​​MER-C has also set up a team for mitigating the 2019 General Elections’ health disaster to respond to the cases of dead and sick members of the polling station working committee across the country.

This medical non-governmental organization’s presidium chairman, dr.Sarbini Abdul Murad, said the humanity and mitigation measures that MER-C team members would take were not only directed to the sick polling station workers but also to the dead ones.

Thus, the MER-C team would possibly conduct autopsies on deceased workers of the polling stations to find out the real causes of their deaths, he said, adding that the human rights commission was also expected to have a common concern on this issue.

The deaths of over 500 members of polling station working committees across Indonesia have encouraged MER-C and Komnas HAM to explore potential cooperation on issues of humanity.

“We discussed various domestic and international issues of humanity,” Sarbini Abdul Murad said in connection with the meeting of MER-C with the human rights commission at its headquarters on Friday (May 10).

The MER-C team members are keen to help the people at large have certain information on the deaths and illnesses of the polling station workers by finding out their causes, and taking appropriate measures and solutions to prevent similar miseries from recurring in future general elections.

In connection with this issue, Komnas HAM Chairman Ahmad Taufan Damanik said he has also set up an elections supervisory team to find out the causes of the polling station workers’ deaths.

To this end, the human rights commission’s team had held a coordinating meeting with the representatives of the University of Indonesia (UI) Medical Faculty and Indonesian Doctors Association (IDI).

However, Komnas HAM would be happy to extend its cooperation with other credible parties, including MER-C, because the fact finding results would have been publicly announced prior to the KPU’s official announcement on manual vote recapitulations on May 22.

Such reputable institutions as UGM, UI, IDI, Komnas HAM, and MER-C as well as professional doctors have shown their concrete efforts to uncover the causes of deaths and illnesses of those who have sacrificed for a fair convening of Indonesia’s general elections. (rah)





Vice President M Jusuf Kalla attended a function to observe Constitution Day organized by the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) at the Parliament Building., Jakarta – Vice President M Jusuf Kalla attended a function to observe Constitution Day organized by the People’s Consultative Assembly (MPR) at the Parliament Building, here, on Sunday (18/8/2019).

MPR Chairman Zulkifli Hasan in his remarks said that the country’s constitution would continue to develop in accordance with challenges facing the national and state life.

Therefore, the understanding of the existing constitution must be in line with the changes, he said.

“The Constitution is a law that rules this country, not a law on how the state rules. The state’s power must be restricted so the state administration is not arbitrary,” Hasan said.

Constitution Day is observed on August 18 annually to commemorate the birth of Indonesia’s 1945 Constitution (UUD 1945).

As part of the commemoration, MPR also organized a national seminar themed “Evaluation of the Implementation of the 1945 Constitution of the Republic of Indonesia.” (frn)

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BNN Deputy Chief for Eradication, Arman Depari., Jakarta – The National Narcotics Agency (BNN) arrested four people for possessing hundreds of kilograms of hashish at 03.09 p.m. local time in Jakarta on Thursday (8/8/2019), BNN Deputy Chief for Eradication, Arman Depari, said.

The hashish was brought from Aceh to Jakarta using a truck carrying vegetables, gas cylinders, mechanical tools and a compressor, he said.

The BNN official said the hashish was hidden in an iron box aboard the truck.

After unloading vegetables at the Kramatjati wholesale market in East Jakarta, the truck was headed to Kalimalang to unload the mechanical tools and gas cylinders, he said.

“They were supposed to move the items to their rented house,” he said

BNN has, so far, found some 80 kilograms of hashish from four gas cylinders it opened with the help of officers from the fire department, he said.

He believed that hundreds of kilograms of hashish are still hidden in the other gas cylinders, which have not yet been opened.

Based on the results of an investigation conducted, a person who is now at the Cirebon correctional facility in West Java controlled the hashish syndicate, Depari said.

“The hashish was supposed to be circulated in Jakarta and West Java,” he said. (jss)

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The Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDIP) leader, Megawati Soekarnoputri., Bali – The Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDIP) leader, Megawati Soekarnoputri, has ordered her cadres to respect the Great Indonesia Movement (Gerindra) Party’s General Chairman, Prabowo Subianto, who would attend the opening ceremony of the PDIP’s congress.

When he attends the opening ceremony, which kicks off on Thursday, the party’s cadres should show respect and sympathy by applauding him, Chairman of the PDIP congress’ organizing committee, I Wayan Koster, said here on Wednesday evening.

Koster said the PDIP cadres were not allowed to disrespect any of the invited guests, including Prabowo Subianto, former contender of incumbent President, Joko Widodo, PDIP’s cadre, at the 2019 Presidential Elections.

On July 24, 2019, Prabowo Subianto had met Megawati Soekarnoputri at her Central Jakarta residence following his July 13 reconciliatory meeting with President-elect Joko Widodo (Jokowi).

Accompanied by Gerindra’s Deputy General Chairman, Edy Prabowo, and Secretary General, Ahmad Muzani, Prabowo was extended a warm welcome by Megawati’s son, Mohamad Prananda Prabowo, after arriving and getting out of his car at around 12:30 p.m. local time.

Subianto and Megawati, whose party is the main supporter of incumbent President and President-elect Jokowi, appeared happy during their meeting as was apparent in a photograph circulated by the PDIP to journalists.

Megawati enjoyed a round-table lunch along with her guests, her daughter Puan Maharani, her son Prananda Prabowo, and Cabinet Secretary, Pranomo Anung.

Megawati and Subianto have known each other for quite a long time. Moreover, they had contested as the presidential and vice presidential pair during the 2009 Presidential Elections. During that time, their popular slogan was “MegaPro” in their endeavor to challenge the Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono-Boediono pair.

Subianto’s meeting with Megawati took place six days after he met with Gerindra’s advisory council members on July 19 for talks on the future steps following his reconciliatory meeting with Jokowi on July 13.

The General Elections Commission (KPU) officially declared the Jokowi-Ma’ruf Amin pair as Indonesia’s president-elect and vice president-elect following the Indonesian Constitutional Court’s (MK’s) ruling on the presidential election result dispute on June 27, 2019.

According to the KPU’s final tally, the Jokowi-Amin pair secured 85 million votes, or 55.5 percent of the national vote, as against the contenders Subianto-Sandi’s 68 million votes, or 44.5 percent. (ran)

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