The Jakarta Post
The Depok Heritage Community in West Java staged a rally on Friday, to demand President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo turn the 300-year-old Rumah Cimanggis building in the region into a museum, instead of demolishing it to make way for the construction of the Indonesia International Islamic University (UIII) campus.
The community members wore masks of Jokowi's likeness while holding signs that read “#SafeRumahCimanggis, turn it into Rumah Cimanggis Museum” during the protest at the University of Indonesia (UI) campus, where the President was attending the university’s 68th anniversary commemoration on Friday.
Historian JJ Rizal said the President needed to be reminded that one of the country's priceless assets was under threat. The Rumah Cimanggis mansion was built between 1771 and 1775, and was the vacation home of governor general Petrus Albertus van der Parra of the Dutch East India Company (VOC).
Rizal urged the government to comply with Law No. 11/2010 on cultural property, which stipulates that every cultural heritage building must be preserved. The law also states that buildings older than 50 years can be classified as cultural heritage sites.
“The government is responsible for protecting cultural heritage buildings,” Rizal said in a statement.
Expert on cultural heritage, Bambang Eryudhawan, said the planned demolition was not only a local Depok problem, but reflected the government’s negligence concerning the protection of historical sites throughout the archipelago.
At present, the planned demolition of the dilapidated mansion has been halted amid mounting protests from several parties. (vny)