The Jakarta Globe, January 03, 2013
Constitutional Court chief justice Mahfud M.D. has invited bakso vendors to serve their meals at a press conference to announce the court’s achievements over the past year.
Mahfud said it was important for the court, known as MK, to show its support to bakso vendors after they were recently hit with rumors that their meatballs contained pork, following the discovery of a meat-processing plant in Cipete Market, South Jakarta, which allegedly mixed pork into their beef meatballs. For Indonesia’s Muslim majority, eating pork is considered haram, or forbidden.
Jakarta Police arrested four people last month for running the meat-processing factory, which supplied meatballs to vendors in Jakarta.
“Today, we would like to invite everyone to enjoy bakso,” Mahfud said at the MK building on Wednesday.
“At the end of last year we were caught by surprise with news about bakso mixed with pork. It hit all of us by surprise. Sometimes we react overly toward a certain case, that it caused the bakso vendors to suffer.”
Mahfud said that the MK was confident that most of the bakso sold in the market were halal.
He lamented the rumors about all bakso being mixed with pork, which caused sales to drop.
“The rumors about bakso mixed with pork caused turnovers across Indonesia to plunge by 50 percent,” Mahfud said.
“Not only in Jakarta but also in the regions where pork is actually not easy to find. The warning to be careful about eating bakso is unfair. Today we want to prove that we’re not reluctant to eat bakso.”
Mahfud urged the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) to issue a concrete regulation to prevent the rumor from hurting the traders, adding that a similar case occurred in 2007 when there were rumors about bakso being mixed with rat meat, rumors that caused a similar public uproar.