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Jakarta Post

Need for speed: Jakarta to start Formula E track construction despite criticism

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Wed, February 12, 2020   /   10:14 am
Need for speed: Jakarta to start Formula E track construction despite criticism The Lowo Ireng (Black Bat), an electric car developed by the 10 November Institute of Technology (ITS) in Surabaya, East Java, takes part in a convoy in the Gelora Bung Karno sports complex in Senayan, Central Jakarta, to welcome the selection of Jakarta as host of the 2020 Formula E electric car race. (JP/Narabeto Korohama)

City-owned developer PT Jakarta Propertindo (Jakpro) will soon start constructing the track for the Formula E electric vehicle race in the National Monument (Monas) complex in Central Jakarta, despite criticism about the project’s cost.

“In the next few days, Jakpro will begin to prepare for the construction of infrastructure [for the track]. It must be in detail,” said city secretary Saefullah at City Hall on Tuesday, as quoted by kompas.com.

Saefullah said that Jakarta governor Anies Baswedan and State Secretary Pratikno, who is also the chairman of the Medan Merdeka Area Development Steering Committee, would later elaborate on the Formula E track construction plan.

He said that the car racing infrastructure had to be completed by April as it would have to be tested prior to the race on June 6.

“The infrastructure must be completed in time for the racing tests two months before the event,” he said.

A politician from the ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), Gilbert Simanjuntak, previously criticized the budget plan of Rp 1.6 trillion (US$1.1 billion) for Formula E infrastructure construction.

He compared Jakarta’s plan to Hong Kong’s, which hosted the 2018-2019 Formula E season and only spent about 300 million Hong Kong dollars ($39 million).

“I don’t understand what makes the cost in Jakarta more than twice the cost in Hong Kong, while construction materials are quite the same,” Gilbert said, adding that there should also be a clear plan on the management of the infrastructure after the race.

In response, Saefullah said that the budget plan had been made based on various calculations.

“Eventually, there will be an audit,” Saefullah said, arguing that a budget audit would be carried out by both the city administration and the Supreme Audit Agency (BPK).

“Jakarta’s residents can also conduct surveillance if there is something that needs supervision,” he added.

Saefullah said the city administration would ask for help from various parties to disseminate information about the construction of Formula E infrastructure so that it would not disrupt the daily activities of residents.

“We ask for your understanding for any inconveniences that may occur during the preparation," Saefullah said.

The race, which is also known as Jakarta e-Prix, will be the first time Indonesia has held a Formula E race. Anies announced in September 2019 that Jakarta had secured a deal to host the race for five consecutive years.

The steering committee initially did not approve a proposal requesting the Monas area as the racing venue due to its designation as a cultural heritage site, asking the city administration to look for alternative locations, including on Jl. MH Thamrin, Jl. Jenderal Sudirman and around the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium area.

It later changed the decision, allowing the city to hold the race in the Monas complex provided it preserved the cleanliness, vegetation and security of the Medan Merdeka area.

The city is also required to coordinate with relevant agencies to avoid making any changes to the function of the area as a cultural heritage site or causing damage to the environment. (syk)