Sunday, August 13, 2006

When Indonesia's VP and Jakarta's Governor Exchange Statements about Low-income Flats

Yusuf Kalla was again premature, while Sutiyoso was again ignorant. This is my conclusion from reading Kompas's article, titled "Vice President: Cities with 2 Million (population) has to Build Low-income Flats."

After visiting the Cengkareng flats, Kalla said that in the city flats have to be at least 20 storeys tall, using lifts. He said, "the money can be from outside the country. Repayment is not a difficult issue, since it is a sure thing."

Okay, I get what he meant. But really, the issue is not that easy. Maybe our VP should read two of my previous posts, here and here. There ARE problems with repayment. A major one. So giving out statements like that was certainly premature.

Whereas Sutiyoso, interestingly, after explaining several areas in Jakarta where flats will be made, washed his hands off the issue by saying that the funds (to build) is impossible to come from the Jakarta municipality, "because, the people who come and live in the low-income flats come from the regions" (therefore not a Jakarta citizen, therefore none of his business).

Doesn't he know that these "orang daerah" (regional/village people who come to cities) are what makes a city competitive? Without them, it would be at least twice as expensive to buy food, to have a hair cut, to have our shoes shined, etc. Then, employers would have to pay higher wages for people working in Jakarta. If so, these employers would have to look for other alternative cities to invest in: those which offer cheaper services and labor.

This kind of attitude towards the urban working poor shows how the Governor of Jakarta is ignorant as to how a city's economy works.

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