President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on Monday expressed his willingness to officially open the 2012 National Games (PON) in Pekanbaru, Riau on Tuesday evening, amid doubts concerning the event’s readiness following reports on flawed and uncompleted facilities.
Presidential spokesman Julian Aldrin Pasha said that Yudhoyono, just arrived from his state visit to Mongolia and Russia, had received reports on PON preparations from Vice President Boediono.
“The President has been concerned by media reports surrounding 2012 PON’s lack of readiness,” Julian said at the airport.
“The Vice President, however, said that the event’s preparation was actually good both in terms of facilities and organizations. Therefore, the President has said that he is eager to open the event tomorrow evening as scheduled,” he added.
Youth and Sports Minister Andi Mallarangeng, meanwhile, admitted that some issues had prevented arrangements from going smoothly. However, he is convinced that the issues would not affect the games.
“Everything is still on schedule,” he said, also at the airport.
“Look on the bright side. The decision to organize the event outside Jakarta has helped other regions to have good sport facilities,” the Democratic Party politician added.
Coordinating People’s Welfare Minister Agung Laksono said only the shooting and soft ball venues were yet to be 100 percent completed.
“Basically all 54 venues are ready,” he said.
Agung acknowledged that 127 rooms at the athlete villages could not be used due to lack of basic facilities such as bathrooms, clean water, air conditioners, and electricity.
This situation has forced hundreds of athletes to stay in hotels.
“The accommodation facilities are near completion. Athletes staying outside the compound will soon be asked back to the athletes’ villages,” he said.
The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) has launched an investigation into alleged graft in the construction of PON facilities.
The games have been marked by late completion. To add the fiasco, a canopy at the tennis hall collapsed on Thursday, injuring three people.
The rain also flooded the futsal (indoor soccer) venue, prompting a swift rescheduling.
When visiting the venues last week, Boediono said, “We need to overcome the obstacles together, not to blame each other.” (lfr)