Jakarta open to more cooperation with Singapore

Jakarta, where a major sea wall is being developed, could take a leaf out of Singapore's book on land reclamation, said deputy governor Sandiaga Uno on Friday.

Speaking to reporters after talks with Ambassador Anil Kumar Nayar from Singapore, Mr Sandiaga said that while land reclamation was not raised at the meeting, it could be one of many areas the two sides may discuss in the future.

He added that there have been many land reclamation activities in Singapore, which have resulted in the development of public facilities such as the Jurong industrial estate, Marina Bay Sands integrated resort, and Changi Airport.

"I like running, and if you ever had the chance to run in East Coast Park, that is on reclaimed land," said Mr Sandiaga, who regularly participates in marathons.

The former businessman, who once worked in Singapore, also shared with Mr Nayar the new administration's priority programmes for the next five years and how Singapore and Jakarta could work together in areas of mutual interest.

The deputy governor, however, is not rushing into adopting Singapore's system of land reclamation just yet, reported kumparan.com.

"This is still at a very early stage, so let us not come to a conclusion just yet, we will first coordinate with our friends in the DPRD," he added, referring to the Jakarta Council, the local government.

The massive land reclamation project in Jakarta, meant to protect the north of the Indonesian capital from coastal flooding, has been a main source of tension between the central government and the new city administration led by governor Anies Baswedan and Mr Sandiaga.

The national government is pushing through with the 24km-long sea wall and reclamation project which aims to protect the low-lying city from rising sea levels, subsidence and annual flooding from more than a dozen rivers that flow through it.

But the US$40 billion (S$54 billion) project in Jakarta Bay which started in 2014 was suspended last year. It faces fierce opposition from Mr Anies and Mr Sandiaga, who had campaigned strongly against the project during the gubernatorial elections, saying it would disrupt the environment as well as the livelihoods of local fishermen.

Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs Luhut Pandjaitan, when reinstating the project last month, said an environmental impact analysis has addressed those concerns.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on November 05, 2017, with the headline 'Jakarta open to more cooperation with Singapore'. Print Edition | Subscribe