One Night in New Capital City and President's Optimism
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo again spent the night in Ibu Kota (capital city) Nusantara (IKN) in North Penajam Paser, East Kalimantan, on Thursday (23/2/2023).
NINA SUSILO, SUCIPTO
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It was the second time the President camped in the new capital city after the ritual of combining water and soil from each province in Indonesia, at IKN ground zero last year.
The area where the President stayed is a location prepared by IKN Authority as a lodging place for potential investors and other residents, if they want to see IKN. The President was accompanied by First Lady Iriana and several ministers as well as the head of the IKN Authority Bambang Susantono and the deputy head of IKN Authority Dhony Rahajoe. In the lodging, there are 17 cabin-shaped rooms complete with beds, bathrooms and a front lobby as well as garden chairs and tables.
Under the shade of eucalyptus trees and evening light, the presidential cook, chef Claudio, cooked in front of the President and a limited entourage. Apart from bakmi godok (boiled noodles), fried rice and fried noodles, they enjoyed snacks, such as peanuts and drinks. Having dinner in a small garden with stone floors, with a bonfire in the middle, the group spent the night.
In the morning, after the rain stopped and cleared up, before leaving IKN and heading for Jakarta, the President and his entourage visited IKN development subregion. Part of the area is used to build a training center for the national football team. The location will be equipped with eight soccer fields with funding support from the international soccer organization FIFA.
Having lunch with workers
At noon the previous day, President Jokowi had lunch with the workers of IKN construction project at the workers’ canteen facility, residential area of construction workers. The President had the lunch after inspecting the residential area.
Upon arrival, President Jokowi was greeted by workers happily. The President greeted and invited them to have lunch together.
"Have you had your lunch? Please start,” said the President with a smile. "Yes sir, thank you Pak Jokowi," the workers answered in unison.
The canteen is relatively small for the existing 7,800 construction workers. Because of that, the workers take turns to eat. The workers' residences are in the form of rooms filled with 10 people each.
Rosyidi, a worker from Blora, acknowledged the rooms with bunk beds and mattresses were quite comfortable. He is happy to be able to work at IKN, even though he can only visit his village during Idul Fitri.
However, there were also those who said that sometimes the water where the construction workers stayed did not flow. In addition, the workers’ wages also vary. Some get Rp 4 million (US$265) every two weeks and others receive Rp 150,000 per day.
President Jokowi has actually made working visits to IKN many times. This time, during a working visit that took place from Wednesday to Friday, journalists who usually cover at the Palace, Central Jakarta, were invited to join the trip, even though they did not stay at IKN. It was the Palace journalists’ first trip with the President since the COVID-19 pandemic began in early 2020.
During his visit to IKN, President Jokowi gave an explanation at almost every point he visited. Like a tour guide, President Jokowi provided explanations and answered questions. "I am optimistic that next year, in August, there will be a ceremony [commemoration of independence] here," he said, at the end of the explanation.
A number of locations were reviewed, from the Balikpapan toll road to the heart of the IKN, the Mentawir Nursery, the ministers’ housing complex, construction workers' flats, viewing towers, the location of the palace and the “national axis” to the IKN subregion development.
The area where he visited, added the President, was the national axis, which consisted of the presidential palace, ministerial houses and ministerial offices. In addition, the ground zero of IKN, completed last year, has become a tourist destination.
Based on Kompas' monitoring, so far, the progress of development in IKN has already been visible. Markers have been installed. Excavators and trucks are moving everywhere, preparing the land. The contours of the land begin to be seen, as in the ministers’ housing complex.
According to the President, if you look at the landscape and talk to designers as well as implementers, supervisors and managers in the field, they are optimistic the construction will be completed on schedule.
The President said the design of the Presidential Palace would be the same as that designed by artist I Nyoman Nuarta. However, there are still adjustments to be made to conditions in the field.
"The design is the same, but later on in the field, there may be slight adjustments depending on the field conditions," said the President.
The President believes that IKN will attract investors, both domestic and foreign investors. The President believes that IKN has a different feel compared to other regions.
The design is the same, but later on in the field, there may be slight adjustments depending on the field conditions.
Based on monitoring at KIPP IKN, development progress amounts to 14 percent. The government deploys at least 7,800 construction workers. About 35 percent of workers are local residents of East Kalimantan.
With regard to compensation for the people’s land, considered too low, because it is far below the market price, the President promised it would be resolved. Likewise, many other issues such as the protection of the endangered species in their habitat, as well as the issuance of government regulations regarding incentives and several other bureaucratic matters still need to be resolved properly.
In response to land compensation, the President said he had spoken with the head and deputy head of the IKN Authority. He instructed residents to be given options in terms of land compensation so that no residents feel disadvantaged.
Indeed, later there will be several options, such as compensation or relocation of the residents whose land is part of the capital city to other areas. However, of course the commitment must be fulfilled.