Indonesia's Joko threatens to reshuffle Cabinet over Covid-19 response

Indonesian President Joko Widodo.
PHOTO: Reuters

JAKARTA - Indonesian President Joko Widodo has told his Cabinet he is ready to reshuffle ministers or even disband government agencies he feels have not done enough to fight the coronavirus outbreak, according to his office.

Mr Joko made the remarks in a Cabinet meeting on June 18, a video of which was released by his office yesterday.

"I see that many of us are working as though things are normal. That's what's irritating me. Don't you have feelings? This is a crisis," Mr Joko said in the video.

"I will take any extraordinary measures for our 267 million people, for the nation.

"It can be disbanding agencies, can be a reshuffle, I have thought of everything," he said, adding he may also issue more emergency rules if needed.

The President also complained to his ministers of slow government spending in the face of a dire global economic outlook.

Rise

New cases in Indonesia continued to rise as the country eased movement restrictions and allowed some re-openings of businesses this month.

Indonesia reported 1,198 cases and 34 deaths yesterday, taking the total number of infections to 54,010 and fatalities to 2,754. It has the second highest death toll in East Asia, behind China. On Saturday it reported its biggest daily rise in infections with 1,385 new cases.

Mr Joko's government has pledged to spend nearly US$50 billion (S$70 billion) on public health, social protection and relief measures.

South-east Asia's largest economy may fall into a recession this year due to the economic fallout of the pandemic, government officials say, sending millions into poverty.

Elsewhere in the region, Malaysia reported 18 new cases and no deaths.

Foreigners in Negri Sembilan, Selangor, Sabah and Kuala Lumpur made up 14 of the local cases. The other four were imported.

Malaysia's total number of cases stands at 8,634 while the death toll remains at 121.

For the latest updates on the coronavirus, visit here.