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Indonesian DJ and dangdut singer Gebby Vesta yesterday aired some of her frustrations over current COVID-19 travel requirements in the country, sparking a discussion online on the growing view that authorities often complicate the rules for regular people.

Gebby, who lives and runs a business in Bali, was supposed to travel back to the island yesterday from Jakarta. Despite claiming that she was carrying her vaccination certificate and a negative PCR test result, she said she didn’t pass the document checks at first because she didn’t have an accompanying document issued by local officials. 

That’s because the Ngurah Rai International Airport in Bali added a new requirement on July 19, which requires passengers to provide an official letter or a Worker Registration Certificate (STRP) to pass through the facility, on top of the previously required vax certificate and negative PCR test result. The new requirements, applicable “until further notice,” was announced just a day before it was enforced. This sadly adds to the list of rushed regulations in Indonesia, including a last-minute PCR swab test requirement for travelers visiting Bali last December. 

“The weirdest thing is that foreigners will pass through easily, they won’t be asked for official or work letters, nothing. It’s just troublesome for us Indonesians. Why?” Gebby said in a video posted on Instagram.

After arguing with officers at the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Jakarta, she was then permitted to go ahead with her journey. But Gebby lamented how she had to make a scene to be able to check in and that the same rules didn’t appear to apply to foreign nationals.

“Don’t worry, these [rules] only apply to the commoners and our own [people], people at the top or those from abroad, these don’t apply to them,” Gebby wrote on a follow-up Instagram post.

Her first video on this incident has garnered over 218,000 views in less than a day, inspiring others to share similar experiences of being held up by rushed regulations, or witnessing inconsistent enforcement of the rules throughout the pandemic.

“The rich are free to do what they want, but they make it hard for the poor ones like us… Keep your spirits up, people,” one user wrote.

Rather than adding last-minute and laborious requirements on top of the understandably crucial ones, perhaps Indonesian authorities could step up efforts in enforcing the same rules for everyone. And maybe, while they’re at it, not let a COVID-19-positive man pretending to be his wife by hiding under a burqa get on board the plane? 

Also Read ⁠— Indonesia bans foreign worker arrivals during PPKM, permit holders exempted

This article, Indonesian DJ Gebby Vesta airs travel frustrations during COVID, says rules ‘only apply to commoners’, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia’s leading alternative media company.

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