Tuesday, 11 September 2012


One of the main characteristics of a developed nation was the existence adequate basic infrastructure. With a historical background of centuries (South Korea needed only 25 years) Europe and the USA had adequate infra structure which enabled them to develop into advanced and highly civilized countries.

China, Japan and Hong Kong, were among the few countries in Asia which had excellent infrastructure building and able to keep up with the condition in Europe and the USA. As with China, evidently this country was able to jack up economic growth above 10% (in 1010) and slightly down to 9.2% in 2011 and in this year 2012 was projected to grow by around 8.2% according to data of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

One of the amazing achievements in China mainland and Hong Kong was inter-insular connectivity in that country. Connecting bridges with four-lane roads and brightly illuminated with strong supporting pillars stretching for over one kilometers long were easily built.

In China, funding was never a problem. Workforce was never a problem either thanks to vast population, while technological development was just as supportive. So there came into being titanic bridges which connected cities and islands in China mainland, Hong Kong and Macau.

Traffic of all types of vehicles flowed smoothly between cities and islands. Beside land transportation mode connected by bridges, sea transportation were just as prevalent know as turbo jet boats, which resembled cruise ships of high speed connecting cities and islands.

Traveling from Hong Kong to Macau passengers go by turbo jet, then from Macau to Shenzhen, a new industrial city in China, using turbo jets. Furthermore to whiz away from Shenzhen to Hong Kong using land transportation mode through wide and fine roads.

How about Indonesia? Sadly, Indonesia was still way behind China. In the past decease (2000 – 2010) the length of road built in China came to 7,700 km, while over the same span of time Indonesia managed to build only 700 km of toll roads. Truly ironical.

Too many problem at policy making level to exceptional stage afield were the big handicaps and obstacles in building infra-structure management in this country. Land disputes were the classical problem that was never seriously tackled by Government as regulator.

The latest example was the nation’s titanic Sunda Staraits Bridge (JSS) project which would connect Java and Sumatra. In the beginning the public widely acclaimed this Government’s spectacular project because economic pulsation in the two big islands, Java and Sumatra, would be well and alive.

The multiplier effect was already visible: economic growth would be energized, Regional GDP of the connected islands would increased remarkably, direct investment would be boosted, distribution of goods and services would be more evenly spread, employment would be at best at best, property be minimized and eventually people’s welfare would prosper.

However it seemed that realization of that daydream would have to wait for while. Now a polemic arose about who was going to do the feasibility study. Would it be a private consortium or the Government using the APBN State Budget? This polemic rolled on to signal disharmony among Government circles in realizing the JSS project which was getting more and more un-hidden.

The latest news was that the Coordinating Minister Hatta Rajasa had summoned the related parties to sit together to stop the polemics of this JSS project which was triggered by the Ministry of Finance Agus Martowardojo. Unfortunately the outcome of the meeting was still complete darkness because what was agreed upon was only to set up a team called The Team of Seven which were supposed to give input to Board of Directors of the project about which option to be taken by the Government in continuing the project.

The Team of Seven, as the team was called, which was formed in the coordinative meeting for JSS project attended by a number of ministries were assigned to analyze two models of mega projects which would connect Java and Sumatra and scheduled to come up with a recommendation in two weeks time.

With the formation of the Team of Seven, amendment to Presidential Regulation (Perpres) no 86 year 2011 which served as legal base of the integrated development in the Sunda Straits would not be necessary meaning the proposal to revise the Perpres would not be executed. However the confusion did not end there. The problem was that the formation of the team heightened anxiety of the provincial Government (Pemda) of Banten and Lampung about the continuity of JSS project.

Word was out that the Governor of Banten Ratu Atut Chosiah did not wish to be disappointed for the second time by the Central Government and asked the Consortium as (Initiator) to involve the Banten provincial Government and national private companies in the mega project and be given the opportunity to accomplish the project which might cost not less than Rp 200 trillion.

Things got more messy as the consortium was already taking action, beginning with making feasibility study of the project. It seemed understandable if the related Governor in the JSS project were anxious because they did not wish the project to stop midway due to internal disagreement among Government institutions.

To the mass media who was asking for response to the polemics of JSS yesterday, Governor Atut firmly stated that the initiator had exercised stages of execution of the ahreed development, moreover they had acted with reference to the existing Presidential Regulation.

Previously it was reported that the Governor of Banten Ratu Atut Chosiyah and Governor of Lampung Sjachroedin ZPO had sent a notice to the Minister of Finance strongly protesting the Minister of Finance Agus Matowardojo who planned to revise the Presidential Regulation used as reference by the executor.

The Minister’s action to amend the Perpres was rated as a one-sided act which not only upset the Governors of Banten and Lampung but also tend to trigger disharmony within the circles of Coordinating Minister of Economy and Finance who had been consistently inviting the private sector to finance infra structure projects. So the Team of Seven must immediately find a way to accommodate interest of all parties especially the Central Government and the related provincial Governments. The public was expecting that this  polemic would soon end satisfactorily.

The Team of Seven would do their best to uproot the problem which started the idea of revising the Presidential regulation which was already used as reference and guideline by private executors to run a feasibility study. The question was, was there any particular interest to take advantage of a confused situation or just a matter of mis-communication or lack of coordination among Government’s institution.

The JSS project was a prestigious project that concerned the nation’s reputation, so priority of the Team of Seven was to make a recommendation to continue this strategic project due to its amazing multiplier effect certainly all to be done sincerely and cool headedly.  

Business News - July 27, 2012

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