Saturday, December 08, 2007

Decentralization is stagnant, and Megapolitan Issue ?

After in office for 10 years, Jakarta Governor Sutiyoso will leave the city hall on Oct. 6, 2007. The outgoing governor outlined his legacy, including the flood and waste management and public transportation system, in an interview with The Jakarta Post's Wida Maulia, Evi Mariani and Dwi Atmanta last week.

Question: What are the most important issues Jakarta has to deal with until today?

Answer: During my first five-year term, I was dealing more with the aftermath of the financial and political crises. The budget plummeted; it was only enough to pay the staff salaries. The economic wheel stopped propelling and investors fled the country. During my second term from 2002, after things became more stable, I initiated what I call dedicated programs -- large-scale programs important to Jakartans.

First, the flood control. The Dutch had earlier designed a horse shoe-shaped canal through which 13 rivers flowing directly to the ocean. They built the western canal in 1933, but the eastern part was never finished, therefore five rivers still flowing to Jakarta.

I consider this concept still relevant, that's why I try to build the eastern canal. We have set a target of completing the land acquisition this year, and next year we'll start construction work.

What about transportation system?

That's the second priority agenda. I thought about Jakarta's traffic jams. Experts told me that by 2014, Jakarta traffic would be put to a complete standstill; cars would hardly be able to move far from the garage. I asked experts and they designed a macro transportation network, which should provide access to and from (neighboring towns of) Depok, Tangerang, and Bekasi.

In addition, we have to change the culture of people. They like to drive private cars. Even the middle and lower class people are eager to buy old, second-hand cars only to show off.

The year 2014 is just seven years to come. If I wish play it safe, why should I bother thinking about how to prevent the disaster? So we chose four means of mass transportation: the subway, the monorail, the busway and the waterway. Fauzi Bowo (the elected governor) must continue this.

To set an example, is there any campaign for your staff to refrain from using private cars?

We can't do it now because the whole network has not been in place yet. The network must be established before we can enact such a policy. I envision it would be ready by 2012.

What else is the main agenda?

It's waste management. Garbage is a scare for big cities and we have to change the paradigm from cost-oriented approach in which garbage management means a waste of a lot of money to profit-oriented, in which garbage can generate income.

Had the incident in Bojong (dump site) not happened, I would have succeeded in making money out of the garbage. This 6,000 tons of garbage Jakarta produces every day should have been put into a machine and turned into electricity, fuel and fertilizer. Such a project is underway in Cilincing. We'll see how it progresses.

What has made the megalopolitan concept fail?

Each regional administration in the Greater Jakarta maintains its ego, which makes coordination difficult to work. I'm really disappointed with the fact that this concept was not adopted in the bill on Jakarta administration. Why didn't the home minister propose it? I have explained this concept to the lawmakers, but they, too, were reluctant to support me.

What have you done about good governance?

In the beginning of my tenure as a governor, I gathered my children, wife, and relatives. I told them not to get involved in any projects in Jakarta, either directly or indirectly.

I emphasized on the same principle to my staff. I always tell them if I find any of them is involved in projects, I will dismiss her or him.

Of course, my children, for example, protested. They argued that they were ordinary citizens. They said if they followed the normal procedures, why couldn't they bid for projects? I'm sure, however, the fact that they are my children will affect the result. So I let them grumble. If they want to pursue development projects, they must wait until I steps down on Oct. 8.

You seem to be firm when it comes to policies. Is that so? Why?

Every leader undergoes a process of character building. Before becoming a governor, I had served in the military since 1968. I had been in the Army for 29 years, mostly in the Army's elite force (Kopassus), exactly for 25 years. In Kopassus, I was trained to risk my life. This is something common in every elite force, whose soldiers are assigned for special duties. As a governor, the risk is only losing my seat. That's easy.

When you're at odds with the central government, you don't seem to back down.

When I'm right, I fight them, why not? They should just take care of their own businesses. I'm the president of Jakarta, I'm the one taking care of the city.

So you think Jakarta's leader must be independent from the central government?

Not only in Jakarta actually. Remember the regional administration law passed in 1999. Under the decentralization regime, the central government should play a facilitator or regulator role only. But, now, it not only carries out the regulating and facilitating jobs but is also involved in the operational matters. Decentralization is stagnant. Why the State Secretariat cannot keep their hands off Senayan and Kemayoran areas, for instance?

The regulation is just clear enough, what's so difficult? If we want regions to experience robust development, we have to uphold the (decentralization) legislation.

What is the first thing you will do after relinquishing your gubernatorial post?

I will perhaps feel strange. I usually get busy immediately after waking up in the morning. But, well, I'm still involved in several organizations. I chair the PBSI (Indonesian Badminton Association), BAC (Badminton Asia Confederation) and ORARI (Indonesian Amateur Radio Organization). I'll give more time for these things. About politics, I'm telling you: Just wait and see.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Jakarta governor announces 100-day priorities

Governor Fauzi Bowo on Monday unveiled the working plan for his first 100 days in office, with his priorities focused on tackling some of Jakarta's most pressing problems.
Speaking at a press conference at City Hall, the governor said his 100-day plan, which covers the period of Oct. 8 to Jan. 15, included 19 priority programs that "will help create a more comfortable Jakarta for everyone".
"I guarantee you that we'll finalize these 19 programs within 100 days. These programs have also been taken into account in the 2007 revised city budget," Fauzi said. "I have my staff to support me. I'll bind them with a contract that will stipulate punishments and rewards for those involved. All you have to do is just watch the process." The governor did not elaborate on the planned punishments and rewards.
One of the priority programs is easing chronic traffic jams caused by the ongoing construction of busway lanes. Three new corridors are being built, linking Lebak Bulus in South Jakarta to Harmoni in Central Jakarta; Pinang Ranti in East Jakarta to Pluit in North Jakarta; and Cililitan in East Jakarta to Tanjung Priok in North Jakarta.
"We'll expand the streets alongside the busway lane construction and build ramps on busway lanes for motorists temporarily to use them, as well as assigning officers from the public order and city transportation agencies to monitor areas prone to traffic jams," Fauzi said.
The governor also promised the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) project, which eventually will stretch 14.3 kilometers from South Jakarta's Lebak Bulus to Central Jakarta's Dukuh Atas, would begin by the end of the year. "The loan for the MRT, or subway, project is now secured. We're expecting to have a company to handle the project by this year, with recruitment to be opened soon," he said. The money for the MRT project, which is expected to cost Rp 8.3 trillion (US$910 million), will be provided by the Japan Bank for International Cooperation in soft loans.
Another program calls for the administration to finish acquiring land for the East Flood Canal, a project that is expected to help reduce annual flooding in the capital. The administration needs to complete the acquisition of 13 hectares of land from residents of North Jakarta's Rorotan and Marunda subdistricts.

Fauzi's priority programs
1. Mitigating traffic jams caused by the ongoing construction of busway
corridors VIII, IX and X
2. Managing and re-routing traffic
3. Preparing Mass Rapid Transit project
4. Improving existing city institutions and issuing related regulations
5. Mitigating floods
6. Giving aid to the poor in the form of scholarship,
staple foods and health insurance
7. Providing more regulations, public facilities and easier access for handicapped
8. Revitalizing Jakarta's slums
9. Fighting drug abuse
10. Intensifying communication between the governor and Jakarta

(The Jakarta Post)