President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has called on his ministers to ensure that the holiday travel period for Idul Fitri goes smoothly, and warned against taking the task too lightly.
Speaking at the opening of a cabinet meeting on Monday, Yudhoyono said although the hometown exodus of mudik was an annual occurrence, it should be prepared for carefully.
“We should not approach it as something that’s routine or dismiss it out of hand,” he said.
“We used to do that, and quite frequently too, and that’s where problems can start when we take things too easy.”
He said one of the concerns that had grown in magnitude over the years was the increasing number of people going on the mudik by motorcycle, and the corresponding increase in road deaths.
“We have a noble duty of helping our people by ensuring that they can travel safely for the [Idul Fitri] holiday,” the president said.
He urged his cabinet to do their best to ensure a safe and comfortable mudik this year. He charged National Police Chief Gen. Timur Pradopo with traffic management, Public Works Minister Djoko Kirmanto with the maintenance of the roads and Trade Minister Gita Wirjawan with ensuring stable prices and supplies of basic goods.
Yudhoyono also stressed the importance of ensuring adequate fuel supplies across the country. The holiday period in past years has seen fuel run out in some regions with deliveries drying up as most economic activity comes to a halt for about a week surrounding Idul Fitri.
The first day of Idul Fitri this year is expected to fall on Sunday.
Jero Wacik, the energy and mineral resources minister, made assurances that there would be adequate fuel stocks this year.
“I’ve received a report that we should have enough subsidized gasoline and diesel to last 17 and 18 days respectively [from Idul Fitri], as well as up to 67 days’ worth of nonsubsidized gasoline and 19 days of aviation fuel,” he said.
He said there would be enough cooking gas for households for at least 17 days. Jero added that the country’s installed electrical capacity of 24 gigawatts would be sufficient for the holiday period, when many factories close down or scale back production. Arientha Primanita