"We are not rejecting them. Instead, we are just requesting for delaying (their planned arrival). Rejecting is different from delaying," he told journalists after attending the inauguration of Deputy Mayor of Kendari City, Sisa Karina Imran, here on Wednesday.
Mazi said the provincial government has no reservations against the arrival of Chinese workers because the regulation regarding them has been issued by the central government. But, he said, in making the request for a delay, he is considering the psychology of his people who are fighting against the COVID-19 pandemic.
"I must secure my people," he declared.
Asked about his opinion on the Southeast Sulawesi legislative body's official stance on the Chinese worker issue, Mazi said, as its represents the people of Southeast Sulawesi Province, it is absolutely within the rights of the legislative body to oppose their arrival.
The province's legislative body has officially rejected the planned arrival of the Chinese workers. Its decision was conveyed to all factions of the legislative body during its plenary session on April 29, 2020.
The novel coronavirus disease initially struck the Chinese city of Wuhan at the end of 2019. Since then, it has spread to at least 202 countries and territories, including Indonesia, with a massive increase in death toll.
The Indonesian Government officially announced the country's first confirmed cases on March 2 this year.
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has weakened the purchasing power of scores of Indonesian families, particularly those who have lost their jobs.
In West Papua Province, 6,823 workers have been sent home and 67 others have lost their jobs on account of the current pandemic, according to a local government official.
One of the sectors severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic has been the tourism industry, which has seen many hoteliers temporarily suspending businesses, head of the West Papua Provincial Government's Workforce and Transmigration Office, Frederik Saidui, said.
Due to the difficult circumstances, several companies have been forced to send employees home. Some others have laid off workers.
As of May 5, 2020, Indonesia has recorded 12,071 confirmed coronavirus cases and 2,197 recoveries. The death toll from the coronavirus has reached 972 so far. (INE)
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