Ban on Indonesian travelers may affect nation's image: legislator

Ban on Indonesian travelers may affect nation's image: legislator

Member of Commission I of the House of Representatives, Syaifullah Tamloha. (ANTARA/Fathur/Ist)

Jakarta (ANTARA) - The decision by 59 countries to deny entry to Indonesian visitors can negatively affect Indonesia’s image in the international community, said Syaifullah Tamloha, a member of Commission I of the House of Representatives.

"The decision of 59 countries to close the door on Indonesian citizens will have a negative impact on the image and dignity of Indonesia on the international stage," he said in a statement received here Wednesday.

He voiced his concerns on the possibility of Indonesia being seen as a country that is lax in implementing the health protocols issued by the World Health Organization and the Ministry of Health, and said this could possibly impact the country's economic sector, especially in terms of foreign aid, stock exchange, and the rupiah's exchange rate against foreign currency.

It was earlier reported by several sections of the national media that 59 countries have barred entry to Indonesian visitors, citing concerns over the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country.

Speaking of the rise in coronavirus infections in Indonesia, Tamloha reminded the government that the number can potentially continue to spike in the future.

"An increase in the number of COVID-19 cases can also happen during the regional elections. Even the candidates for leaders, some of them have been infected by COVID-19," he pointed out.

He said he hoped President Joko Widodo and the House speakers reconsider conducting the regional elections, which can result in a spike in the number of COVID-19 cases in Indonesia.

He urged the concerned parties to refrain from comparing the situation from other countries that have chosen to not postpone their elections, as their populations are not as dense as Indonesia's.

"It is better to appoint interim leaders. That way, we can focus on handling the pandemic and the economy, whilst still implementing health protocols,” he suggested.  

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