Indonesia: Public decries ‘elite privilege’ as lawmakers, relatives get tested first for COVID-19

Members of the House of Representatives sit in session. (JP/Dhoni Setiawan)

Members of the House of Representatives and their families are to be tested first for COVID-19, with or without symptoms, triggering an outpouring of anger on social media.

House secretary-general Indra Iskandar told reporters on Monday that all 575 lawmakers and their immediate families – as well as their domestic workers and chauffeurs – would be tested for the virus using the rapid test kits that are expected to arrive on Tuesday.

“Every House member wants to ensure that they and their families are clear [of the virus] as it has spread everywhere, including government circles,” he said.

Indra estimated that as many as 2,000 people would be tested on Thursday or Friday at the House’s housing complexes in Kalibata and Ulujami. 

β€œThe test kit is funded by donations from several House members and leaders. Our doctors and paramedics will conduct the tests,” he said.

The public has criticized the plan, noting that there are still many sick people across the country struggling to get tested.

A Twitter user and cardiologist @berlianidris, called for the House to cancel the plan, saying there are many doctors who have been treating COVID-19 patients and still need to be tested because they have no symptoms and test kits were limited.

dokter bili@berlianidris


Ini benar-benar jahat kalau yang tanpa indikasi diperiksa hanya karena mereka pejabat

Sejawat saya dokter2 yang kontak dengan pasien COVID-19 tidak diperiksa karena mereka tidak bergejala, karena alat pemeriksaannya terbatas.


View image on Twitter

3,4481:18 PM – Mar 23, 2020Twitter Ads info and privacy3,171 people are talking about this

“It’s really mean if those without symptoms are being tested just because they are members of the elite,” he said.


privilege yang memuakkan. β€¦501:11 PM – Mar 23, 2020Twitter Ads info and privacy88 people are talking about this

“What a sickening privilege,” wrote Twitter user @efenerr.

Kamal γ€Œγ‚«γƒžγƒ«γ€@funkybukkyoReplying to @tilehopper

So, again, the political elites take precedence over the people157:46 AM – Mar 23, 2020Twitter Ads info and privacySee Kamal γ€Œγ‚«γƒžγƒ«γ€’s other Tweets

“So, again, the political elites take precedence over the people,” wrote @funkybukkyo.

As of Monday morning, Indonesia had 514 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 48 deaths.

If you want to help in the fight against COVID-19, we have compiled an up-to-date list of community initiatives designed to aid medical workers and low-income people in this article. Link:Β [UPDATED] Anti-COVID-19 initiatives: Helping Indonesia fight the outbreak