The Jakarta Post
President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo stands next to his fax figure in Madame Tussauds Hong Kong. Belu village in East Nusa Tenggara is planning to build a similar statue of Jokowi to promote the area as a tourist destination. (Madame Tussauds Hong Kong/File)
Residents of Belu, East Nusa Tenggara (NTT), are planning to build a statue of President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo at the border between Indonesia and Timor Leste.
“The Belu village had said residents wished to build the statue of Jokowi in Tulakadi village, to promote its tourism,” Guntur Sakti, head of the Tourism Ministry’s public communications bureau, told tempo.co on Monday. He added that the statue will be built from plastic, similar to a mannequin.
Guntur said the idea was expressed to Tourism Minister Arief Yahya, who visited the Fulan Fehan Festival in Timor Leste on Saturday. The minister then said he supported the residents’ effort to develop the area’s potential in tourism.
Guntur also stressed that the idea came from the residents and not the ministry, contrary to what recent rumors might have said.
"As it happens, there is a big tamarind tree in Tulakadi village and it was named the Jokowi Tamarind Tree. At that precise spot is where residents wish to place the Jokowi statue,” Guntur said.
The President visited Belu to observe the Motaain cross-border post (PLBN) in December 2014. On that occasion, Jokowi spoke to local residents under said tamarind tree. Since then, it has been known as the Jokowi Tamarind Tree. Residents have also placed down stones arranged in a way that they form a seating place. Since Jokowi’s visit, the area has become a favorite destination for both residents and tourists.
The area is currently in development to be a digital destination. The ministry has also stated its support, saying, “We will provide assistance and strengthen its digital features.” (wng)