Jakarta

Jokowi seeks House’s
support for big projects

The surfeit of red tape stalling big projects in the city has forced Governor Joko “Jokowi” Widodo to seek political support from Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) lawmakers in the House of Representatives.

He held meetings with the party’s contingent and lawmakers from the House’s Commission V on public works, housing and transportation to discuss a number of stalled big projects in the city.

“I asked the lawmakers to help me with some programs in the central government that are related to the administration of Jakarta, such as some concerning flooding and infrastructure,” said Jokowi, as quoted by kompas.com.

“There’s nothing wrong with that, right?”

Jokowi said House Commission V would deliberate on the progress of infrastructure programs in the capital city.

Erico Sotarduga, a PDI-P lawmaker and member of the commission, said after a meeting with Jokowi that the Jakarta governor asked the PDI-P contingent to help him harmonize the central government’s policy with that of the Jakarta administration to help speed up all development projects in the city.

“We’re trying to avoid a clash of policies between the central government and the provincial administration,” he said.

Earlier on Wednesday, Jokowi talked to reporters about the complicated bureaucratic process at the ministerial level, which had hindered several major projects in the capital city. The projects included the acquisition of state-owned bus company Perum PPD and plots of land to be used for affordable housing.

The city intended to acquire the nearly bankrupt Perum PPD to turn it into a city-owned company that would operate thousands of new minibuses the city would purchase. Currently, old public minibuses are mostly in poor condition, and many of them have been deemed not roadworthy.

However, the project has been put on hold because the Finance Ministry and the Development Finance Controller (BPKP) are still examining the acquisition plan to decide whether the city may acquire the firm.

Another program that has been stalled is a land acquisition for low-cost apartments and green open spaces. The plan has been bogged down by a regulation requiring the city to register a project one year before it begins.

Lazarus, another PDI-P lawmaker and also deputy chairman of the commission, said the commission would do its best to help the city speed up priority programs.

A political observer from the University of Indonesia, Donni Edwin, said Jokowi was making a solid political move by approaching the PDI-P lawmakers to get the projects moving.

He said the approach would bear fruit given the character of the Indonesian bureaucracy, where personal relationships drove more action than legal procedure. “At least, he will get voices that support his programs. This will also attract support from other lawmakers,” he said.

He said once the governor had managed to raise the issue within the PDI-P and had gotten the attention of the mass media, it would be easier for him to dislodge the programs from bureaucratic gridlock because it would have become a political issue in the public eye.

“People will be more aware of the programs. If somebody tries to make it difficult, people will know who exactly is halting the city’s programs,” Donni said.

He said Jokowi’s position as governor did not give him full authority over the capital city, as there were many infrastructure programs that required coordination with the central government.

Poor coordination between the two administrations, he said, could affect the city and countries’ global competitiveness.

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