West Java Governor Ridwan Kamil. (Photo courtesy of West Java Government)

West Java Revives New Order-Era Youth Organization to Help With Coronavirus Mitigation


APRIL 14, 2020

Jakarta. The West Java provincial government has asked youth organization Karang Taruna – first established in 1980 under President Soeharto's New Order – to get actively involved in Covid-19 mitigation efforts as the region prepares to start its large-scale social restriction, or PSBB, on Wednesday.

West Java Governor Ridwan Kamil said Karang Taruna, which has branches at subdistrict level, could help educate the public about coronavirus transmission, keep track of families who might be facing food shortage or volunteer as paramedics.

"We're currently focusing on the second role. [...] Karang Taruna can help us make sure no one in West Java suffers from food shortage during PSBB," Ridwan said after a teleconference with Karang Taruna leaders in the region on Monday.

Karang Taruna can help the provincial government collect data of people entitled to receive food assistance, including current residents of West Java who might be registered as residents of other provinces.

"The Social Affairs Ministry will do most of the data collection, but Karang Taruna will be our last line of defense to make sure no one gets left behind," Ridwan said.

The governor said he would issue a circular authorizing the youth organization to take part in the data verification process.

The provincial government has classified residents impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic into three categories to ensure the right people get the right type of social assistance.

First in line are residents already listed in the social welfare integrated database (DTKS). Second are residents who have become vulnerable after the outbreak. The third category is all current residents of West Java.

Aside from providing official assistance paid for by central government and regional government budget, the governor has also initiated Gerakan Nasi Bungkus (Rice Wrap Campaign) that anyone can join to provide free meals to people in need.

The governor urges city-owned enterprises (BUMD), private companies and individuals to contribute to the program.

Ridwan also ordered each subdistrict in the five districts and cities in West Java that will implement the restriction to open a meal center.

"PKK [subdistrict-level women's organization] would help establish the meal center, but we won't allow crowds there. The Karang Taruna can help find residents who might be facing food shortage and distribute the meals to them. We don't want people swarming the meal center," Ridwan said.