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Online Gambling Social Assistance Sparks Debate

Translator

Laila Afifa

Editor

Laila Afifa

17 June 2024 14:08 WIB

TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The idea of providing social assistance to victims of online gambling was initially proposed by Coordinating Minister for Human Development and Culture, Muhadjir Effendy. He stated that the ministry has been offering considerable advocacy to online gambling victims.

"For instance, we have included them in the Integrated Social Welfare Data (DTKS) as beneficiaries of social assistance," he said on June 13, 2024.

Muhadjir emphasized that gambling, both offline and online, can impoverish communities, making them fall under the responsibility of his ministry. The proposal for online gambling social assistance has sparked mixed reactions from various groups.

1. Forum Indonesia untuk Transparansi Anggaran (Fitra)

Gurnadi Ridwan, a researcher from the Forum Indonesia for Budget Transparency (Fitra), argued that the proposal should be rejected as it could cause jealousy and potentially increase the number of new online gamblers, especially among lower-income individuals who do not receive social assistance.

He highlighted the technical difficulties in verifying the criteria for social assistance recipients, which might lead to misallocation and potentially be used as capital for further gambling. The inclusion of gambling victims could inflate the social assistance budget, which is already projected to reach Rp 152.30 trillion in 2024.

"This would undoubtedly swell the budget and potentially consume allocations for other public services such as healthcare and infrastructure," Gurnadi said in a written statement on Sunday, June 16, 2024.

2. Center of Economic and Law Studies (Celios)

Bhima Yudhistira, Executive Director of the Center of Economic and Law Studies (Celios), asserted that online gamblers should not be considered victims and thus do not deserve social assistance. "They should be placed in rehabilitation centers, whether run by the government or private sector," Bhima said on Saturday, June 15, 2024.

Labeling online gamblers as victims, according to Bhima, is inappropriate and normalizes online gambling. If they are considered victims, it could exacerbate the widespread impact of online gambling.

3. Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI)

Responding to the plan to provide social assistance to online gambling victims, the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) deemed the proposal inappropriate and called for a review.

According to the official MUI website, Asrorun Ni'am Sholeh, MUI's Chairman of the Fatwa Commission, stated that online gambling is illegal, akin to conventional gambling. "Online and conventional gambling activities do not warrant a restorative approach to gambling crimes," he said on June 14, 2024.

He explained that this differs from drug-related crimes, where individuals can become victims of drug abuse through exposure from dealers.

4. Deputy Chairman of Commission III of the DPR

Deputy Chairman of Commission III of the DPR, Habiburokhman, agreed that online gambling victims could receive temporary social assistance. He believes that social assistance could help alleviate their dependency on online gambling.

He stated that providing social assistance is essential to complement law enforcement actions by the police. Moreover, he said, this assistance is part of a comprehensive effort to address online gambling from upstream to downstream. "We fully agree with the social assistance," he said.

5. Financial Services Authority (OJK)

Friderica Widyasari Dewi, Chief Executive of the Financial Services Authority's Supervision of Financial Service Providers' Conduct, Education, and Consumer Protection, said that the proposal to provide social assistance has two sides. On one hand, it can be seen as government support for victims of online gambling, but on the other hand, it may create dependency among the gamblers.

Friderica stated that the OJK will focus on educating the public about the dangers and risks of online gambling.

EKA YUDHA SAPUTRA | IKHSAN RELIUBUN | ANTARA

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