We can’t think of anything worse than being told to enjoy a disaster, but one Jakarta official’s insensitive statement about this week’s floods in the capital proved to be asinine drivel given that he failed to grasp the concepts of fractions and percentages.
On Wednesday, Jakarta Regional Secretary Saefullah gave an interview in which he defended Governor Anies Baswedan from accountability for the deadly floods in the capital in recent months. According to him, heavy rain is to blame for the floods.
“Not one governor has been free from the problem of flooding. Every year, during the flood season, it will definitely flood,” Saefullah told reporters.
“Just enjoy it. This is about water management. Our bodies are two-thirds percent water. Water often comes out.”
We’re no math experts, but two-thirds of a percent amounts to 0.666 percent, and we’re pretty sure the average human body is made up of a bigger fraction of liquid than that.
But Saefullah has been widely panned for his statement, which many say is highly insensitive considering that at least five people died in the Greater Jakarta Area on Tuesday because of severe flooding. Earlier this year, 67 people were killed by even greater flooding that began on New Year’s Day.
Democratic Party politician and House of Parliament (DPR) member Irwan Fecho is among those calling for Saefullah’s resignation over the statement.
The Jakarta Provincial Government has been heavily scrutinized over its perceived poor handling and, particularly, prevention of floods in 2020. A class action lawsuit has been filed against Governor Anies for this reason, but a hearing scheduled at the Central Jakarta District Court this week was postponed because flood water cut off road access to the courthouse.
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