Wednesday, December 9, 2009
The President has again raised the issue of moving the country's capital from Jakarta to somewhere else nearby to avoid problems of overcrowding and congestion.
President Susilo Bambang Yu-dhoyono said Jakarta was too crowded, and that any plans to develop a new location to be the country's administrative capital were acceptable.
"About 15 years ago there was mention of moving the administration from Jakarta to Jonggol in West Java," Yudhoyono said Wednesday evening to heads of the country's 33 provinces ahead of the national working meeting of the Indonesian Provincial Administrations Association (APPSI) in Central Kalimantan.
"However, following the Asian financial crisis, the idea of moving the center of administration from Jakarta to Jonggol has never been aired again," he said.
"Going forward, the idea of moving the center of the administration must again be considered and developed, considering Jakarta has become exceedingly crowded."
Yudhoyono said, to facilitate the move, the site for the new capital should not be too far from Jakarta.
"Find alternatives not too far from Jakarta, such as Sentul and Jonggol in West Java," he said, referring to areas situated about 36 kilometers and 50 kilometers south of Jakarta, respectively.
In the 1990s, former president Soeharto floated the idea of moving the capital with his son Hutomo "Tommy" Mandala Putra and his daughter Sri Hadiyanti "Tutut" Rukmana, preparing Jonggol to be the new capital.
However, the plan failed to materialize when the Indonesian strong man was forced to step down in 1998.
Years after Soeharto's fall, Jakarta faces more problems, ranging from heavy traffic jams, annual floods, frequent fires and a high crime rate.
Traffic congestion has worsened compared to 10 years ago because projects aimed at easing traffic flow have stagnated.
Large parts of the city still face the threat of annual flooding because of the sluggish pace of construction of the East Flood Canal (BKT), the largest flood mitigation project in the city.
In recent years as the country faces more and more natural disasters, Jakarta has turned out to also be prone to earthquakes, with major quakes hitting the capital in the last year.
Many have suggested that Kalimantan is the safest place for the country's capital as the island is the most geographically and geologically stable.
Responding to the idea that the administrative capital be relocated to Palangkaraya, Yuhdoyono said it would not be practical given Palangkaraya's considerable distance from Jakarta.
He added, however, that since Kalimantan was relatively safe from natural disasters such as earthquakes and tsunamis compared to other parts of the country, it was sensible that Palangkaraya be developed further.
The APPSI meeting is scheduled to take place from Dec. 2 to 4. Yudhoyono opened proceedings Thursday morning, after which he flew back to Jakarta.
In his opening speech before the country's governors, provincial secretaries and other regional executives, the President called on them to support the central government's first 100-day programs, which consist of a total of 65 programs including 15 priority programs.
He said the programs could only succeed with the regional participation.
"The programs are related to the economy and law and security sectors. They require cooperation with each sector and with the regions," Yudhoyono said.
He also reminded the regional heads of the importance of ensuring good economic growth, job creation, controlled inflation and poverty reduction in their respective areas.
Deputy chairmen Bibit Samad Rianto and Chandra M. Hamzah have recently been reinstated back into the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK).
The Cikini Center executive director, Sonny Pudjisasono, said Wednesday that the public had known depravity within legal institutions through Anggodo's role in an alleged conspiracy involving high-profile officials at the National Police and the Attorney General's Office.
“Because of him, this year's celebration to mark International Anti-Corruption Day was very exciting,” Sonny told Antara.
He added that the award did not mean that his office had supported Anggodo in the alleged conspiracy.
“Instead, we want to challenge policemen, because they have yet to decide his status,” he said. “This is a challenge for them to solve the case.”
The police have yet to declare Anggodo as a suspect in an alleged corruption case involving a controversial conversation with officials to frame Bibit and Chandra that was presented during a court session at the Constitutional Court last month.
In the conversation, he mentioned people including President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.
Anggodo himself is the brother of tycoon Anggoro Widjojo who was involved in an alleged graft case at the Forestry Ministry.
Sonny said that his office would contact either Anggodo or his lawyer to hand over the award.
The inquiry committee members will begin their work next Monday to set agendas on which state officials are to be summoned to the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK). This seemed to send confusing signals on how it would handle the bank inquiry.
A member of the committee, Maruarar Sirait from the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), said that it was essential for all of the committee’s hearings to be open for the sake of the public interest.
“If it has to, I also want the committee’s internal leadership meeting to be completely open,” he said.
Bambang Susetyo, another committee member from Golkar, supported Maruarar, arguing that open meetings would avoid “hanky-panky” among the members to fix the outcome of the inquiry.
“We will even allow live TV broadcasts so that everyone can see who is serious and who is only seeking to fulfill self-interest,” he said.
KPK deputy chief Haryono Umar said Wednesday all nine findings submitted by the BPK to the KPK recently were mostly related to banking crimes.
"So far we have not found any indication of corruption,” Haryono said as quoted by kompas.com.
Even if there was any corruption in the audit, the KPK would have no authority to investigate the case.
He said the KPK would only focus on alleged corruption in the disbursement of the bailout funds to third parties and the flow of the money.
KPK leaders have asked the BPK to clarify the results of the audit next Friday. “We are still reading the report and would like to know what it means. We need an explanation from the BPK,” he said.
Kompas.com has reported that protesters have begun leaving the site after joining in about 45 minutes of orations on anti-corruption efforts.
“We thank the police and the participants for contributing to this peaceful protest. We are glad to prove that this action did not turn violent as President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono had feared,” one of the activists from the Coalition of Anticorruption Civil Societies (Kompak) Usman Hamid said.
Previously, Yudhoyono has expressed his fear that some political forces wanted to take benefit from the rally and topple him as president.
During the protest, noted Islamic figure Din Syamsuddin urged the government to unveil the Rp 6.76 trillion (US$ 710 million) bailout made to keep the ailing Bank Century afloat last year.
“The bank scandal is like a cancer within the country. Thats why, we have to solve it,” he said.