Addressing High Speed Train Jakarta-Bandung

Under leadership of President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, Indonesia has ran fast in regulating and developing national strategic infrastructure projects. In total 225 national projects and 30 priority project have to be completed in 2019. But on top of these projects, High Speed Train Jakarta-Bandung steals the spotlight. It is discussed and debated by various circle (academics, politician, citizen, etc.) from people who do not really understand the situation and just give empty talk or people who give weighty and real talk but not being considered by citizen. In summary all of them has their own different opinion which is based on their own paradigm. In addressing all of different voices, we as a good citizen has to be able to divide good and bad information and looking for giving constructive input to government.

Actually I was wondering why Indonesia chose China instead of Japan. Because based on data, accident rate of Japan high speed train is zero while there were some accidents of high speed train in China. So logically, Japan is superior regarding this matter. But, after I looked some information, Indonesia have considered the safety aspect but in the end still choose China because China guarantee that they can build high speed train Jakarta-Bandung without Indonesia government guarantee. Furthermore, the scheme is Business to Business not Government to Government, so there is no risk is Indonesia government side.

I also wondered why the track is only from Jakarta to Bandung. Logically it will be more useful to design it from Jakarta to Surabaya which will be in accordance with Jokowi vision to create equitable regional development. But then I realize that Jokowi have formulated 225 national project plus 30 priority projects which covered all regions in Indonesia. So, why we just do not agree to accept the offer from China in which they will develop high speed train without government guarantee and government budget? Logically, we will say yes right?

Many people criticized that this project is not financially viable. Of course this project is not financially viable IF this project is not ran well by the related stakeholder. Of course this project is not financially viable IF we only consider the high speed train development without considering big potency of regional development around the train track. If we rethink this project in macro economy, this project is the proper solution of toll road Jakarta-Bandung which have been filled with traffic jam, this project will spark regional development around the train track, and this project will open many job opportunity and so create economic growth.

Even so, we have to keep watching this project progress and give constructive input. I totally agree with firmness Ignasius Jonan as Minister of Transportation of how he strictly keep this project under applicable law, how he strictly define the concession time of China, and how he strictly does not give permission until China complete the Detail Engineering Design with minimal a half of total 143 km train tracks. As far as I read in the news, China have just prepared 3 km of DED from the total tracks.

As Professor Rhenald Kasali said, change is inevitable. We will face risker life if we do not change. If the government does not make breakthrough change, this country will keep stagnating with its sluggish economy. This high speed train is indeed necessary project to change Indonesia for a better.





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