Jakarta

Bylaw not protecting some
museums

Face-lift: Workers renovate one of the corners of the National Museum complex in Central Jakarta in November 2012. The government has preserved the museum as a learning center for Indonesian history. (JP/Jerry Adiguna)
Face-lift: Workers renovate one of the corners of the National Museum complex in Central Jakarta in November 2012. The government has preserved the museum as a learning center for Indonesian history. (JP/Jerry Adiguna)

Governor Joko “Jokowi” Widodo began his task as a campaigner for his party, the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), by showing the public his appreciation of history by visiting the city’s museums.

His demonstration, however, seemed contrary to his actions as he is scheduled to sign a bylaw on detailed spatial planning that would put the future of at least two museums in jeopardy.

Urban activist Marco Kusumawijaya said the bylaw, which has been waiting for the governor’s approval for a month, stipulates that the new, north wing of the flagship National Museum on Jl. Medan Merdeka Barat in Central Jakarta was not a museum but rather a government office.

Another museum, Museum Perumusan Naskah Proklamasi (Museum of the Drafting of the Proclamation) on Jl. Imam Bonjol No. 1 in Central Jakarta is actually deemed to be a residential building in the bylaw.

“Oh the irony! The places the governor visited are actually under threat. It makes the spatial planning bylaw look bad,” he told The Jakarta Post over the phone on Monday.

According to the draft bylaw, which contains a color-coded spatial map, the Proclamation Museum is yellow, which means it is a residential facility. A museum should be brown, which means it is a public facility concerning social, cultures, education, health and religions.

Meanwhile, the older wing of the National Museum is brown as it should be, but the new building located to the north is red, indicating that it has the same function as the surrounding governmental offices in the area.

Marco said the Proclamation Museum was not supposed to be treated like a regular house in the spatial planning. The newer wing of the National Museum, he said, had been included as a part of the museum’s expansion project in 1990s, so it should be treated as an entity of the public facility.

“I haven’t scrutinized the entire draft. These loopholes are our quick findings,” he said.

Team leader in charge of the formulation of the bylaw Darwin Syam Siregar quickly denied that the museums were under threat.

“The Museum of the Drafting of the Proclamation is yellow because it is just a small house located in a residential area. But, we already have a gubernatorial regulation on heritage buildings that will protect the museum,” he told the Post over the phone on Tuesday.

He said the gubernatorial regulation was strong enough to protect the museum from a change of land use.

The museum was built in 1920, during Japanese occupation it was the house of Rear Adm. Tadashi Maeda, who lent his house to young Sukarno, Mohammad Hatta and Ahmad Subardjo to draft the proclamation of independence in 1945. Under a 1992 Education Ministry, the house was made into a museum.

Darwin also said the newer wing the of the National Museum was not in danger.

“The back part of the museum is run by the government,” he said.

Jokowi said he would follow up the findings. He said he still needed to give the contents of the bylaw a final check before officiating it.

“I want to recheck it thoroughly and make sure we have the spatial planning is correct. I have checked it before, but I want to do it again before adding my signature,” he said recently.

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