The Road to the Asian Games 2018

Indonesia Expat - - Content Page - BY ERIN COOK

The mid­dle of Au­gust has been a busy time for the In­done­sian gov­ern­ment. The 50th an­niver­sary of the As­so­ci­a­tion of South­east Asian Na­tions (ASEAN), In­done­sia’s 72nd In­de­pen­dence Day and the launch of the one year road to the Asian Games 2018 all took place in the same week.

But if Pres­i­dent Joko ‘Jokowi’ Wi­dodo was over­whelmed, he showed no signs of it on Au­gust 18 as he over­saw the Countdown to the Asian Games cel­e­bra­tion at the Na­tional Mon­u­ment, bet­ter known as Monas, in Cen­tral Jakarta.

He was joined by Vice Pres­i­dent Jusuf Kalla, Youth and Sports Min­is­ter Imam Nahrawi, Co­or­di­nat­ing Min­istry for Hu­man De­vel­op­ment and Cul­tural Af­fairs Puan Ma­ha­rani and for­mer pres­i­dent Me­gawati Soekarnop­u­tri.

The Games will see Jakarta and Palem­bang, the cap­i­tal of South Su­ma­tra, share the hon­our of host­ing. This is the second time Jakarta has hosted the Games, but the first time the re­spon­si­bil­ity has been split be­tween two cities. Venues in Ban­dung, West Java and Ban­ten will also host the mas­sive Games which will see coun­tries from across Asia take part.

Jakarta- Palem­bang weren’t orig­i­nally named hosts. Viet­nam’s Hanoi was ini­tially to play host, but pulled out cit­ing fi­nan­cial is­sues. The Viet­namese gov­ern­ment is not the only in hav­ing con­cerns over the ris­ing costs of host­ing such mas­sive events. For­mer Jakarta Gov­er­nor Ba­suki ‘Ahok’ Tja­haja Pur­nama was not ex­cited at the prospect of the city host­ing the 2018 Games. He sug­gested back in 2015 that Jakarta would be bet­ter off us­ing the money it would cost to de­velop the spe­cific in­fra­struc­ture and host fa­cil­i­ties would be bet­ter utilised in one of the press­ing trans­porta­tion projects.

“Jakarta is al­ready too big for the Asian Games,” Ahok said in De­cem­ber 2015.

His cam­paign to have Palem­bang the sole host quickly went nowhere and he spent the next year over­see­ing the de­vel­op­ment and con­struc­tion of fa­cil­i­ties, in­clud­ing a mas­sive over­haul of the Bung Karno Sta­dium sport­ing com­plex in Se­nayan, South Jakarta.

The cur­rent bud­get al­lo­ca­tion for in­fra­struc­ture de­vel­op­ment for Asian Games 2018 in both Jakarta and Palem­bang sits at Rp.5.5 tril­lion (US$ 411 mil­lion), ac­cord­ing to Pub­lic Works and Pub­lic Hous­ing Min­is­ter Ba­suki Hadimuljono.

“Jakarta-Palem­bang weren’t orig­i­nally named hosts. Viet­nam’s Hanoi was ini­tially to play host, but pulled out cit­ing fi­nan­cial is­sues. ”

Hadimuljono meets fre­quently with Jokowi and Vice Pres­i­dent Jusuf Kalla to up­date them on progress, ac­cord­ing to lo­cal me­dia re­ports.

Con­struc­tion is on track, the min­is­ter said ear­lier on the year, with no ma­jor de­lays ex­pected ahead of the Games.

The pres­i­dent has been in­volved in mon­i­tor­ing the bud­get him­self, telling a limited meeting with rel­e­vant min­is­ters back in June that he “wants the bud­get to be cal­cu­lated prop­erly in de­tail” and re­mind­ing that con­struc­tion must com­pleted on time and bud­gets can­not be in­flated. "I want the bud­get to be cal­cu­lated prop­erly in de­tail," he said, adding that the con­struc­tion must be com­pleted on sched­ule.

For Jokowi, the Asian Games 2018 ap­pear to be his mo­ment to show the world the ad­vances In­done­sia has made un­der his lead­er­ship. A well-run Games with state- of-the-art fa­cil­i­ties and clean gov­er­nance is im­por­tant to him.

"It could boost our name in the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity," Jokowi said in June.

In ad­di­tion to sport­ing fa­cil­i­ties and ath­letes' ac­com­mo­da­tion, the Jakarta gov­ern­ment is also ex­pected to have the Mass Rapid Tran­sit, Light Rail Tran­sit and the air­port com­muter rail line up and run­ning be­fore the open­ing cer­e­mony in Au­gust next year.

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