Expert: Govt Escaping Responsibility with `New Normal` Narrative

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Petir Garda Bhwana

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  • TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Social politics expert from the Jakarta State University (UNJ), Ubedilah Badrun, has evaluated the government’s ‘new normal’ narrative to be a way for them to escape the responsibility of protecting the public from the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Ubedillah sees the enactment of a ‘new normal’ now to be premature and dangerous. "It's just the same as the government opening up a field for mass suicide," Ubedilah said when contacted on Monday, May 18, 2020.

    The research that has been done by the government, continued Ubedilah, is insufficient to decide on the implementation of the new normal.

    According to Ubedilah, the shift in public attitude the government is calling for through the ‘new normal’ has in fact already happened, due to the Large Scale Social Restriction (PSBB) policy.

    Specifically, the shift in public attitude can be seen from lifestyle, economic, and social changes, as well as cleaner living habits and usage of masks, shown by the public.

    However, Ubedillah said, the change in public attitude is more commonly found among people with higher education backgrounds. On the other hand, Ubedillah finds difficulty for people with low levels of education and low income to adopt the new normal public attitude.

    “As such, this interpretation of the ‘new normal’ also needs adequate research," he said.

    The government, added Ubedillah, should instead focus on evaluating the enactment of the PSBB policy, as it should be a prerequisite prior to the enactment of the new normal.

    "If the implementation of the PSBB policy is a mess, then the new normal policy will actually be the next messy situation," he said.

    President Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo had previously called for the public to live hand-in-hand with the COVID-19 pandemic, while also denying the notion to be a white flag in the fight against the pandemic.

    According to Jokowi, the fight against COVID-19 will instead continue by prioritizing the application of health protocols. In addition, the government will organize for public affairs to gradually return to normal

    "Our lives have certainly changed to overcome the risk of this outbreak. That is a necessity. That is what many people call the new normal," Jokowi said, on Friday, May 15, 2020.

    BUDIARTI UTAMI PUTRI | DIO SUHENDA (INTERN TRANSLATOR)