The Gulf Widens | NOW! JAKARTA

The Gulf Widens

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Some fantastic new hotels and apartments have opened in Jakarta, proving that real world class quality is possible with the right planning, execution and financing!


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If you haven’t already visited them, head for Raffles Jakarta, with its amazing collection of art, The Four Seasons which has exceptional quality in its interior design, and the brand new Westin which also raises the quality bar again.

At the same time, right outside their doorsteps is the continuing chaos of the new “integrated” transportation system, comprising underground, busway and new flyovers. The difference in planning and delivering between the two is now moving into the unassailable.

Why, we have to ask, can the private sector create and manage projects to completion, exceeding the expectations of consumers, who are happy to pay for their services, and the public sector simply cannot?

The public sector has no profit mandate, it doesn’t have to create a 20-30% ROI. It doesn’t need to raise finance either, that’s done through taxation and government funding. All it needs to do is understand what the public needs are and match them. So why isn’t this happening?

Well far be it from me, a rather ignorant foreigner, to comment on the workings of the local government, but there is obviously something missing in their methodology (and vision?). There were two very expensive flyovers built a couple of years ago over Antasari in South Jakarta and Casablanca heading West. Do they work? Well not according to my driver who claims they just shift the bottleneck to the ends of each road, and very rarely uses them. So they seem to simply be a huge waste of money.

Is the same going to be said of the latest (but far from complete) tolls and flyovers? Well yes! Unless they are actually linked up and the bottlenecks eliminated. And as for the MRT, even when Phase One is complete it will not solve the problems we experience every day. Sad but true. Maybe the relevant departments should visit Singapore (or Shanghai) to see how it should be done? Or perhaps just check into one of these marvelous hotels and experience what delivering quality is all about. But don’t use the tax payer’s money for the rooms please!

ALISTAIR G. SPEIRS

Alistair Speirs

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