Remarks of President of the Republic of Indonesia at the 17th National Working Meeting (Rakernas) of the Association of All Indonesian Municipal Governments (Apeksi) at Balikpapan Sport and Convention Center Balikpapan City, East Kalimantan, June 4, 2024

By Office of Assistant to Deputy Cabinet Secretary for State Documents & Translation     Date 4 Juni 2024
Category: Remarks @en
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Assalamu’alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh.

Good morning,
May prosperity be upon us all,
Om swastiastu,
Namo Buddhaya,
Greetings of Virtue.

Distinguished Cabinet Ministers in attendance, also present with us here Minister of Home Affairs, Minister of Investment, and Commander of the Indonesian National Defense Forces (TNI);
Distinguished Governor of East Kalimantan, Mayor of Balikpapan as the Host;
Distinguished Chairperson of the Apeksi Management Council, Mr. Eri Cahyadi, along with all the mayors in attendance this morning,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I have frequently emphasized that by 2045, 70 percent of our population will reside in urban areas. Globally, by 2050, it is projected that 80 percent of the world’s population will be concentrated in cities. What will happen then? This will significantly burden urban areas. I have also consistently stressed the necessity for comprehensive urban planning in every city across Indonesia. Therefore, let’s avoid having cities like those increasingly seen in Europe and America—cities marked by tension due to high unemployment and homelessness. We certainly don’t want that scenario unfolding in our country, Indonesia. We’d like to ensure that all cities are not only livable and comfortable but also lovable. We aim for visitors to feel happy and eager to return, while residents cherish their city for its excellent public services and quality of life.

We’re aware that several cities in the country are already grappling with overcrowding, leading to traffic congestion. Mayor of Balikpapan, is Balikpapan already congested? Well, I’ve heard about that. Surabaya is jam-packed, Mr. Mayor? It’s already like that, okay, Sir. Bandung, Mayor of Bandung, is Bandung congested? Yes, it is. Medan, is the Mayor of Medan present? Congested? It is. Oh, yes, Mayor, it’s becoming quite a gridlock. Everything seems to be slowing down.

Therefore, once again, city plans for mass transportation, public transportation must be carefully prepared. Imagining subway, MRT, LRT always involves significant costs, very expensive. I remember when Jakarta MRT was first built, the underground MRT cost Rp1.1 trillion per kilometer, and now it’s worth Rp2.3 trillion per kilometer. Please raise your hand, which city is ready to fund an MRT construction using its regional budget at Rp2.3 trillion per kilometer?

For the LRT we constructed in Jakarta, using carriages manufactured locally at INKA, the cost was approximately Rp600 billion per kilometer. Who can afford this? Can any city fund it from their regional budget? Point to one, I’ll gift you a bicycle. It’s quite challenging, especially for high-speed trains. High-speed trains are actually cheaper than subways, costing around Rp780 billion per kilometer.

Nowadays, there’s a new option called ART (autonomous rapid transit), which uses magnets instead of rails. It can consist of three, two, or even just one carriage, making it much more affordable. If any city has the capacity in its regional budget (APBD), they should consider contacting Minister of Transportation. Funding could potentially be split, with 50 percent from the APBD and 50 percent from the State Budget (APBN), for instance. If we do not take action, cities will inevitably face congestion in the next 10-20 years. We’ll witness the consequences firsthand if preparations for mass transportation aren’t made now.

When considering the city of the future, many still mistakenly envision it as a modern landscape filled with skyscrapers and high-rise buildings.

In my opinion, there’s a shift towards a new paradigm regarding what makes a good city. A good city is one that prioritizes pedestrian-friendly environments, accessibility for people with disabilities, cycling infrastructure, and safety for children and women. This concept revolves around creating an environmentally friendly city. What does this mean? Such a city should be green, smart, and friendly. Instead of excessive concrete and pavement blocks, there should be more green spaces, such as grass paving, to promote a greener environment. In a tropical climate like ours, shade is crucial for pedestrians. Therefore, future cities must prioritize greenery to enhance liveability and sustainability.

I’m delighted that Balikpapan and Surabaya are cities I appreciate for their excellent green spaces. I look forward to seeing others follow suit. With the planned development of the Nusantara Capital (IKN) embracing the concept of Nusa Rimba City, I believe it has the potential to become the greenest capital in the world. This concept emphasizes lush greenery, and I hope we maintain consistency with this vision throughout its development.

Once again, the city of the future must prioritize green spaces, shade, pedestrian and cyclist-friendly infrastructure, urban forests, squares, and expansive parks. This concept necessitates rethinking cities that are already dominated by buildings and concrete. It may require bold actions like redesigning urban areas, potentially reducing building density, acquiring land for green spaces, and transforming them into city parks. There’s no alternative if we’re committed.

That concludes my remarks on this auspicious occasion. Once again, the dream city of the future is a green, smart, creative, livable and lovable city.

And, by saying bismillahirrahmanirrahim, this morning I hereby open the 17th National Working Meeting of the Association of All Indonesian Municipal Governments (Apeksi) 2024.

I thank you.
Wassalamu’alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh.


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