Indonesian official denies government deal with Ping An

Rumoured deal could give Chinese insurer access to the social security data of 222 million Indonesians

Indonesian official denies government deal with Ping An

Insurance News

By Gabriel Olano

A government minister has denied that Indonesia has signed an agreement with Ping An Insurance, which would have given the Chinese insurance giant access to the national health insurer.

Luhut Binsar Panjaitan, coordinating minister for maritime affairs and a senior adviser to Indonesian President Joko Widodo, issued a statement following speculations on social media that Jakarta had agreed with Ping An to improve the technology of national health insurer BPJS, the South China Morning Post reported. Such a deal could potentially give a Chinese entity access to the social security data of 222 million Indonesians.

According to Luhut, Ping An would only provide advice to BPJS and not interfere in its operations. He said that he was impressed with Ping An’s use of technology during a visit to the insurer’s headquarters in Shenzhen in July.

The government has been criticised by certain sectors over what they see as excessive cozying up to Beijing.

“Are we really going to ask China’s help for BPJS? Are we really not that creative or is there a hidden motive behind the act?” Rizal Ramli, former coordinating minister for economic affairs, said in a series of tweets. “What if all of Indonesians’ health data [is accessed by] Beijing? Looks like someone deserves the title of ‘China’s honorary ambassador to Indonesia’.”

Since BPJS was created in 2014, it has been plagued by poor oversight of premium collections and several other problems, leading to an expanding budget deficit. One such proposed solution is integrating payment of BPJS premium into requirements for public services such as passports or driver’s licences.

“If you want to use public services such as creating a driving license or passport, we could check whether you have outstanding BPJS premium balance,” Luhut said. “If you have it, you will be asked to pay it first before continuing the public service process.”

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