In a bid to make some major changes in Jakarta, a group of business tycoons has offered to lend a hand in seeking solutions to the city’s problems.

Indonesian tycoons lend city a hand

A group of business tycoons has offered to lend a hand in seeking solutions to the city?s problems. -Jakarta Post/ANN
Thu, Feb 28, 2013
The Jakarta Post/Asia News Network

In a bid to make some major changes in Jakarta, a group of business tycoons has offered to lend a hand in seeking solutions to the city’s problems.

Indonesian moguls with the President Executive Club met with Governor Joko “Jokowi” Widodo on Tuesday to discuss a number of urban issues the administration is trying to deal with.

During the discussion, Jokowi encouraged the billionaires to step out of their offices to see the capital’s issues first-hand and accompany him on a tour of some slums.

“After I visited numerous slum areas to better understand the problems here, I must admit everything seemed too complicated. For example, all the banks along Jakarta’s 13 rivers are occupied by squatters. I want to take all of you to visit these areas. There are acute socioeconomic disparities in this city,” Jokowi told the forum at the Batavia Tower in Central Jakarta.

The Ciputra Group’s owner, Ciputra; Lippo Group founder Mochtar Riady; and Jababeka president director SD Darmono were among the club’s members who attended the forum.

Among the club’s cofounders are Kompas Gramedia Group president director Jakob Oetama; former defence minister Juwono Sudarsono; Agung Podomoro Group chairman Trihatma K. Haliman; and Sahid Hotel owner Sukamdani S. Gitosardjono.

Jokowi said that the number of impoverished people in Jakarta exceeded 40 per cent of its total population, which was around 10 million.

“According to the Jakarta Development Planning Agency, the percentage of people living in poverty in Jakarta is 3.8 per cent and there is a further 38 per cent of people who are prone to poverty. But they are basically the same: impoverished,” he said.

Boenjamin Setiawan, cofounder of Indonesia’s largest pharmaceutical company, the Kalbe Farma Group, said the businessmen were ready to help the city administration with its programs.

“We want to help. How can we do so? Education and health are important to improve the quality of our human resources. I encourage the administration to use the private-public partnership [PPP] scheme to improve healthcare facilities in the city,” Boenjamin said.

He also urged the governor to promote the family planning programme to reduce birth rates in the capital.

Jokowi responded positively to the offer, saying that businesspeople wanting to lend a hand were welcome to contact him directly to discuss their proposals in more detail.

It is unprecedented for businesspeople to take the initiative in this way and offer to become involved in local government policy without there being an overriding business interest.

Jokowi also encouraged the businessmen to help in the complex issue of relocating street vendors. He said the involvement of private parties could be beneficial, as was seen in the recent relocation of street vendors from Sunda Kelapa Mosque in Central Jakarta.

The administration currently oversees 153 traditional markets and 20 relocation sites for street vendors. However, according to Jokowi, only 15 per cent of the markets have been well-managed.

“If this problem is not solved soon, [the markets] will be diminished by the presence of modern markets, and traffic congestion will worsen,” he said.

In discussing the traffic issue, Jokowi said that his predecessors failed to make the development of public transportation systems their top priority.

“If the monorail, Mass Rapid Transit [MRT] and Bus Rapid Transit [BRT] systems were all up and running, there would be more motorists shifting to public transportation.”

The governor used the analogy of developing a brand to explain how he is redeveloping the city.

“Building a city is like building a product, a brand. We need a position, an image, just like Paris that is well-known as a fashion capital. Maybe Jakarta can be a cultural city or a Muslim fashion capital,” Jokowi said. “I am optimistic that, together, we can redevelop this city.”

About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (www.heroinnovator.com), the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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