City to review decree on protected buildings
JAKARTA (JP): The city administration is planning to review a gubernatorial decree on protected buildings in the capital, saying the regulation is no longer valid or relevant, an official said on Sunday.
Head of the city's Museum and Restoration Agency, Robert Silalahi, said the need to immediately change the content of the decree was based on inputs submitted by various parties concerning its weaknesses and loopholes.
"The gubernatorial decree is now under an evaluation process. We will soon further examine its weaknesses, such as the data that is said to be fault on buildings which have already disappeared," he told The Jakarta Post.
He added that after the revision, which would involve all related parties, the new decree will be expected to include more old and historic buildings on its protected list.
Robert said there are many old buildings that deserved to be preserved and protected in the capital that are not listed in the existing decree.
"We'll invite related government and private institutions to participate in the decree's review process in a bid to draw up a more comprehensive list of protected buildings," he said.
Robert, however, said he had no idea when the new decree would be issued.
Many parties have criticized the 1993 Gubernatorial Decree No. 475 on protected buildings in the capital, especially the abundance of errors relating to the buildings themselves.
An expert on the history of old buildings, Grace Pamungkas, told a seminar on old buildings held here on Saturday that the city administration was not serious in maintaining old and protected buildings.
"The city administration's lack of seriousness can be seen in the 1993 gubernatorial decree on the list of protected buildings, which is full of incorrect information."
She said the decree No. 475/1993 contained incorrect information on the location of old and protected buildings, their identities and their historical details.
"The decree is very ineffectual. It should be revised," she said.
Grace, who specializes in the history of old buildings, said what was even worse was that a number of protected buildings had simply disappeared with no action being taken by the administration to save them.
In view of the overlapping management of old and protected buildings in the capital, Grace and another expert, Danang Priatmodjo, also suggested that the city administration unlock the shackles of bureaucracy to improve these buildings' maintenance.
The two said during a seminar that the capital's protected buildings were deteriorating because institutions charged with their management did not have a clear vision.
"There are two teams responsible for the management of old and protected buildings. One is a restoration team, which is under the supervision of the City Museum and Restoration Agency, and the second is a team of architectural advisers, which is under the supervision of the City Development Control Agency.
"However, the two teams often overlap in their jobs so they usually focus more on the architectural aspects because the personnel's background is mostly in architectural science," Danang said.
He suggested the city administration merge the two teams because the restoration and architectural work could not be separated.
Danang also hinted that there was a lack of coordination among agencies related to the maintenance of old and protected buildings, namely the City Planning Agency, the City Museum and Restoration Agency and the City Development Control Agency.
"The policy of one agency is sometimes incongruent with the those of the others. For example, a building's block plan prepared by the planning agency is not in-line with the restoration criteria set by the museum and restoration agency.
"In another case, the building permit released by the development control agency did not match the requirements issued by the museum and restoration agency," he said.
He said that to improve the management of old and protected buildings, officials at the planning agency and the development control agency should master preservation and conservation techniques, and improve their coordination with the museum and restoration agency.
Given the current conditions, Danang said, it was not surprising to find old and protected buildings being damaged and disappearing one by one.
Meanwhile, scores of sites important to the city's heritage are not included on the list of protected buildings, like the VOC building complex and the Ancol Chinese temple in North Jakarta; and the Perguruan Rakyat building and the Tri Ratna Chinese temple in Central Jakarta, Grace said.
Both Grace and Danang agreed the press played the greatest role in the fight to save the city's protected buildings.
"Several cases of old and protected buildings being demolished or disappearing have come to both the public and administration's attention after being reported by the press," Grace said.
"The planned destruction of the protected immigration building in Central Jakarta may be prevented after the press reports," she cited as an example.
"That's why the press should pay more attention to this matter," Danang said.(ind)