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Jakarta Post
The Jakarta Post
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Ring 1 cables raise questions of sabotage

  • Agnes Anya

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta | Thu, March 3, 2016 | 08:40 am
Ring 1 cables raise questions of sabotage Underground mission: A worker clears used cable jackets from a sewer under Jl. Medan Merdeka Selatan in Central Jakarta on Wednesday. The pile of dumped casings was blamed for flooding in the street above.(JP/Seto Wardhana) (JP/Seto Wardhana)

Underground mission: A worker clears used cable jackets from a sewer under Jl. Medan Merdeka Selatan in Central Jakarta on Wednesday. The pile of dumped casings was blamed for flooding in the street above.(JP/Seto Wardhana)

The recent finding of a large amount of cable jackets within the vicinity of the State Palace has raised questions about the security of the area and speculation about what is behind the mysterious discovery.

The Jakarta Water Management Agency found cable jackets in waterways spreading along the high-security area, called Ring 1. Ring 1 is home to the Presidential and Vice Presidential offices and also several government offices and the National Museum.

Agency head Teguh Hendrawan said his officers found the cable jackets on Jl. Medan Merdeka Selatan last week when they were conducting regular cleaning work on the waterways.

Teguh said the officers also found similar items on Jl. Medan Merdeka Utara, where the State Palace is located. As of Wednesday, Teguh added, the administration had collected 16 truckloads of cable jackets.

'€œWe cannot mention the precise measure. It is a lot,'€ Teguh said. '€œWith that amount, it is reasonable that the governor suspects some kind of sabotage.'€

Jakarta Governor Basuki '€œAhok'€ Tjahaja Purnama suspects there is something fishy behind the cable jackets. Ahok suggested recently that it demonstrated an attempt by unknown persons to engineer floods in the Ring 1 area.

Teguh said he agreed with the suspicions of his boss because his agency often checked the waterways and rarely found any cable waste. The recent check, he added, was carried out following Ahok'€™s suspicions.

Ahok said the administration had filed a report about the discovery to the Jakarta Police.

In March 2014, the city administration'€™s official news site, beritajakarta.com, reported a similar finding along Jl. Medan Merdeka Timur and Jl. Pejambon. Because of the waste, roads around Gambir station were inundated. At the time, the city administration suspected that the cable jackets were thrown away by thieves who only wanted the precious copper found inside the cable.

On Wednesday, Jakarta Police chief Insp. Gen. Tito Karnavian said the police had yet to conclude that the cable jackets were a form of sabotage. The police have cooperated with the Central Jakarta Water Management Agency and state-owned utility company PLN to track down the source of the cable jackets.

'€œBased on information we received, the cable jackets have been there since 2009 or 2014. We have to confirm the information while trying to figure out why the waste was in the waterways,'€ Tito said.

The deputy head of the City Council, Mohamad Taufik, criticized Ahok for publicly throwing around suspicions of sabotage instead of honestly examining the poor performance of his administration in dealing with waste and floods.

'€œIf the cable waste is indeed an instrument of sabotage, it means the administration has not monitored the waterways well enough,'€ Taufik said as quoted by kompas.com. '€œIt would be wiser to evaluate his administration first, instead of blaming others for sabotage.'€

In February last year, Ahok blamed flooding around the State Palace area on PLN because the company shut down electricity and so the pumps in Pluit Reservoir in North Jakarta stopped working. At the time, Ahok speculated that someone had '€œsabotaged'€ the pumps and he ordered the Jakarta Police to deploy officers to sniff around for signs of sabotage.

PLN denied the accusation, saying it turned off electricity after receiving reports that the area was flooded. (rez)

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