Webinar on “People’s Risk Perception on New Normal Policy in Jakarta”

In this webinar, Dr Sulfikar Amir and Dr Irma Hidayana highlighted two important points concerning people’s responses towards government policy in dealing with Covid-19 pandemic. First, there is a low risk perception of Jakarta residents with regard to Covid-19 pandemic. As such, they are actually not ready to enter the new normal phase initiated by the government. Second, some citizens have actively participated in advocating data transparency on Covid-19 cases, especially on the problematic death cases.


Monday, 22 June 2020 – ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute invited Dr Sulfikar Amir, Associate Professor of Science, Technology, and Society (STS) in the Sociology Programme, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, and Dr Irma Hidayana, co-initiator and co-leader the Citizen Coalition for Covid-19 (LaporCOVID-19) in Indonesia, to speak about the new normal policy in Jakarta and disseminate their survey results on people’s risk perception towards the policy. The webinar was moderated by Mr Made Supriatma.

Dr Sulfikar Amir and Dr Irma Hidayana sought to answer the questions of whether Jakarta residents were ready to enter the “new normal” as campaigned by the government, and the role of civil society in dealing with the pandemic. Mr Made Supriatma moderated the webinar. (Credit: ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute)

Dr Hidayana warned about the problem of data on Covid-19 cases in Indonesia, which she perceived did not reflect the real situation of the pandemic, particularly on death cases. The coronavirus transmission has been going undetected or under-detected due to the country’s large population, the great variety of geographic and socio-economic conditions, health disparities, and the capacity of officials to collect and manage information while simultaneously dealing with the crisis. Using the WHO updated guidance on COVID-19 deaths, Dr Hidayana’s NGO, LaporCOVID-19, has advocated this issue by collating and compiling data of probable and confirmed cases from 489 cities/districts across the nation. They found that the death rate due to coronavirus infection in Indonesia is about three times higher than the official data provided by the government. Thus, she suggested that the government should consider this fact in conducting the new normal policy.

In Jakarta, the government has been preparing a transition to re-open some social and economic activities. In this “New Normal” phase, the government has suggested citizens to stay vigilant of the pandemic, however there is significant doubt of the country readiness to open up its social restrictions. Dr Amir shared some findings based on a survey conducted by Social Resilience Lab NTU, together with LaporCOVID-19, on the risk perception of Jakarta residents to enter this new normal phase. The online survey managed to collect 3160 valid responses from 29 May-2 June. Using six variables to create a Risk Perception Index, the study found that the risk perception score of Jakarta residents is relatively low. It implies that despite being informed to be cautious about the virus, Jakarta residents generally perceived that they are not ready to enter the “New Normal” era as campaigned by the government.

Around 45 participants from over the world wide web attended the webinar. During Q&A session, topics raised included the role of civil society, religious organizations, and grassroots movement in adapting to the new normal, the national-local government relations in the implementation of the policy, and public trust-building in dealing with the pandemic.

Over 40 participants attended the webinar. (Credit: ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute)