Back in 2014, the Indonesian police decided to give a name to their security procedures during and immediately after Ramadan and they called it Operation Ketupat.
Ketupat is a boiled rice cake that whilst eaten throughout the year, is synonymous with the Indonesian post-Ramadan holiday of Idul Fitri. It's therefore little surprise that the period of heightened security procedures to 'protect' the large numbers of people travelling back to their home villages for the holiday, known as mudik, was given this moniker.
The idea is that during this time everyone needs to be aware that places that are usually heavily populated may now be deserted, so residents need to be careful in how they lock up their homes and belongings and the police need to be extra mindful of criminal activity.
There is also the increased numbers of people travelling to take into consideration. It's a time when trains are packed to Indian-style capacity, aeroplanes have been booked up months in advance and roads that are already gridlocked can stay that way for an even longer period of time. It is because of this that understandably cynical Indonesians have given the name of Operasi Ketupat to the Indonesian police's unique form of either a) fining someone for breaking the law, b) tax collection, or c) mugging, depending on your point of view.
In a country that imposes its laws in what can best be described as a laissez-faire manner, and that where the size of the punishment seems to depend on your ability to pay, this period sees police roadblocks and gauntlets set up to take advantage of all the people who are not following the dubious details of a Highway Code that, if it exists at all, is known only to a select few.
I know it's idealistic, but to change this will require some very simple rules on the part of the governemnet and the police.
1. The people need to know, very clearly, what the rules of the road are and the punishment for breaking them.
2. Rule breaking needs to be dealt with consistently and fairly
3. There can be no money changing hands, instead payment should be made where there is an ability to track that payment, either at a courthouse or an office set up for the recording of these payments where transactions are electronic.
4. Genuine drivers licences and insurance certificates should be pre-requisites, along with vehicle maintenance certification.