Jokowi officially bans 'mudik' effective starting from Friday, April 24

23 April 2020 - In the beginning of this month the President of Indonesia Mr. Joko Widodo had only advised all the people in the country not to participate in the annual exodus event called ‘mudik’ and restricted all government workers from going on ‘mudik’ trips. A scenario on the possibility of setting a public holiday later in the year in order for people to go on mudik as the compensation were also discussed among the House of Representatives and ministers. This decision is finally made after reviewing a Transportation Ministry survey which shows that 24 percent of respondents are planning to travel home. The same survey also indicates that around 7 percent of respondents had already left on mudik trips. "Based on field research and a survey conducted by the Transportation Ministry, we found that 68 percent of people had decided to not participate in the annual exodus,  while 24 percent still insisted on leaving and 7 percent had already left,[...]It means we still have a very big percentage [of people who will participate in the mudik]. So I want to announce that we will ban the mudik altogether." Jokowi stated during a teleconferenced limited Cabinet meeting on Tuesday.

Normally there are at least 20 million people from Greater Jakarta (including Bogor, Depok, Tangerang, and Bekasi), the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak in Indonesia, travel to their hometowns to celebrate Idul Fitri together with family. Public health experts suggest, this tradition could lead to worse spread of COVID-19 throughout Java and other islands in Indonesia.

Luhut Binsar Panjaitan as the Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment explained that the government finally decided to completely ban mudik only after social aids have been distributed because it was very important that a social safety net need to be first put in place. “The government’s strategy was like what we know in the military – a gradual, graded and continuous strategy. So we were not rushing because everything must be prepared carefully and thoroughly,” Luhut said. 

The Minister of Transportation, Budi Karya Sumadi, said that his department is preparing new regulations regarding this ban. For those who keep going on ‘mudik’ will be punished based on Law No. 6 of 2018 on Health Quarantine. Those who got caught during their ‘mudik’ trip will be sent back to where they come from and if they refuse or causing more problems they can be sent to prison for one year and / or a maximum fine of Rp 100 million. This ‘mudik’ ban will be effective starting from Friday, April 24, 2020 and the proportionate law enforcement will be started on May 7, 2020.

The Bali Provincial Government has followed the central government’s instruction. Moslem council leaders in Bali have been coordinating with Indonesian Ulema Council in Jakarta, which resulted a Ramadhan and Eid al-Fitr religious practices guide during COVID-19 pandemic in Bali Province. This guide informs the procedures for celebrating Eid al-Fitr and the prohibition to go on a ‘mudik’ trip.