Mon, 22 Aug 1994

Councilors say Jakarta city deserves award

JAKARTA (JP): Jakarta deserves the Parasamya Purnakarya Nugaraha, the award bestowed to the province with outstanding achievement in development over the past five years, city councilors say.

Jakarta received the prestigious award by a Presidential Decree issued on Aug. 10, which stated that the country's capital city, which has provincial status, deserved the award for its achievements during the Fifth Five Year Development period from April 1989 to April 1994.

"It goes without saying that Jakarta deserves the award," said city councilor Sahala P. Sinaga of the Indonesian Democratic Party (PDI) faction.

Last week Sahala pointed out the 467-year-old city's financial achievements: Boosted by an 8.65 percent economic growth rate, the city's per capita income last year was Rp 3.2 million (US$ 1,473), well above the national figure of Rp 1.36 million.

The city's gross domestic product, excluding oil, was valued at Rp 17.3 trillion last year, up 37 percent from Rp 12.58 trillion five years ago. This increase was aided by a significant increase in domestic investments, which grew from Rp 8.7 trillion in 1989 to Rp 15.4 trillion last year, he said.

Sahala, however, expressed regret that despite those bright statistical figures there were still hundreds of thousands of poor people in the city and the social gap between the poor and the rich was still very discernible.

Although 60 percent of all the country's money is estimated to circulate in Jakarta, 5.36 percent of the city's residents still live below the poverty line, he said.

Six years ago, there were an estimated 686,000 poor people living in this city. Last year the figure was 473,000, he added.

City councilor Aliwongso Halomoan Sinaga, of the Golkar functional group faction, concurred with Sahala that Jakarta deserves the award on the grounds that it is able to maintain growth despite the accumulating urbanization problems it has endured year after year.

Remarkably, Aliwongso said, Jakarta continues to show economic growth despite that every year 300,000 to 400,000 people from other parts of the archipelago, especially rural Java, migrate to Jakarta.


City councilor Romulus Sihombing, of the PDI faction said the over-populated city had so far been quite successful in managing its huge, diversified and multi-ethnic population and in keeping chronic problems within limits so they do not get beyond control.

Romulus also praised the city's financial strength. The city budget for the 1994/95 fiscal year is Rp 1.8 trillion, a huge sum compared to the budgets of other cities, some of which have only Rp 100 billion available, Romulus said.

Another achievement, Romulus said, was that Jakarta was pouring hundreds of billions of rupiahs into the development of Tangerang, Bogor and Bekasi on its outskirts.

Romulus also agreed with Soedradjat Nataatmadja, an inspector general of the Ministry of Home Affairs who led the 11-member Parasamya Purnakarya Nugraha evaluation team, that Jakartans, despite their image of leading an individualistic life-style, showed a good sense of togetherness and belonging toward the city.

Romulus pointed out Jakarta's success in greening programs through the "Plant A Million Trees Movement", a program initiated last year by Governor Surjadi Soedirdja in order to make Jakarta a garden city. Seventy percent of the trees planted in the greening campaign were reportedly donated by Jakarta citizens.

He said, however, that the city administration should view the award as a spur towards better accommodating the public's demands, particularly for greater openness and democracy, because the public has become more critical in evaluating the government's steps.

City councilor Saud Rahman of the United Development Party earlier said that while he was pleased that Jakarta was named recipient of the prestigious award, the honor should motivate the city administration to improve its services to the public. (arf)