Reclamation potential to make Indonesia an Asian hub: Expert

20 April, 2016 | Source: Antara News

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - A leading economist and former environment minister Emil Salim said reclamation of the northern coast of Java could make Indonesia an Asian hub taking over part of the role of Singapore.

"Our target of development of the northern coast of Java is to compete with Singapore, which would be saturated in 2030 that international trade traffic would be shifted from Pacific to the Indian ocean," Emil said in an economic dialog on "Policy Dialogue: The Middle Income Trap-Indonesias Challenge Ahead" here on Monday.

He said by 2045 or 100 years after the country gained its independence, the northern coast of Java should be made ready to serve as an alternative international shipping center to Singapore.

Unlike Singapore which has limited land territory for expansion, the northern coast of Java from west to east has good prospects in serving as a potential route for busy international trade across the Indian and Pacific oceans, he said.

He said reclamation of the northern coast of Java could transform the area not only into a economic growth center, but also into a maritime , fishery and shipbuilding industrial centers. 

However, reclamation especially reclamation of the Jakarta Bay , now in the process of construction must not neglect the environmental impact.

Reclamation should be through natural process with sedimentation of mud brought by rivers that empty to the Jakarta Bay .

It is a wrong way of reclamation by digging corrals around the Thousand island to create new islands, he said referring to reclamation by giant companies PT Agung Podomoro and Agung Sedayu Group.

The destruction of the corral will affect the ecosystem, change the sea currents and damage the environment, he said.

Salim statement came amid growing protest especially from environmentalists against reclamation of the Jakarta Bay 

The government, seeking to end the controversy over the reclamation, decided to suspend the project on Monday. 

"We ask to suspend construction until all requirements and law regulations are fully met," Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs Rizal Ramli said stopping short of bowing to growing public demand to cancel the big project.

Rizal said at a meeting also attended by the environment minister Siti Nurbaya, Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama and officials of the marine and fisheries ministry, it was agreed to form a joint committee to find a solution to the controversy over the project.

The committee will make up of officials of the office of the coordinating minister for maritime, the environment ministry, the marine and fisheries ministry , the Jakarta city administration, the home affairs ministry and the state secretariat.

Minister Siti Nurbaya said among the problems to be solved are related to analysis on environmental impact which needs to be completed.

The controversy over the real estate project surfaced when the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) arrested a number of people including leaders of PT Agung Podomoro Land Tbk and Agung Sedayu Group and a lawmaker on charge of graft.

 

 

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