The Jakarta Post
The Jakarta administration has denied spending Rp 2.2 billion (US$158,219) to procure artificial trees that have been removed from sidewalks in Central Jakarta after being criticized for disturbing pedestrians.
Jakarta Deputy Governor Sandiaga Uno said the trees had been purchased by the Central Jakarta Industry and Energy Agency in 2017, so no money from the 2018 city budget had been disbursed to make the purchase.
The agency usually installs artificial trees to welcome big events, Sandiaga said. Ahead of Idul Fitri, Jakarta’s anniversary and the Asian Games, the agency decided to install the trees on May 28- 29.
“A budget of Rp 2.2 billion is allocated for the procurement of lighting and decorations to welcome the Asian Games. The procurement will be conducted through a tender soon,” Sandiaga said on Friday as quoted by kompas.com.
Sandiaga acknowledged that the installation of the artificial trees had been carried out prior to consultation with the Jakarta Industry and Energy Agency.
“We told them that if they wanted to execute the plan, they should have let the head agency know first,” Sandiaga added.
Photos of the trees on Jl. MH Thamrin and Jl. Merdeka Barat were widely circulated on social media. On Thursday, all the artificial trees had been removed from the sidewalks.
Pedestrians Coalition head Alfred Sitorus criticized the installment of the trees. “We found that some of the sidewalks were too narrow, such as those in front of Bangkok Bank [on Jl. MH Thamrin], but artificial trees were still installed there. They impeded pedestrians, especially the disabled.” (cal)