Modest changes planned for Asian Games in Jakarta

opinion April 03, 2016 01:00

By The Jakarta Post
Asia News Ne

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Jakarta is undergoing a major facelift for the Asian Games in 2018, which West Java and South Sumatra’s capital Palembang will also co-host. Most cities that overcome tight competition to secure the rights to host international sporting events like the Ol



Reports of clashes between security troops and residents of Rio de Janeiro’s favelas intensified as early as 2008, a year after Brazil clinched hosting rights for the 2014 World Cup. The Brazilian Institute of Public Security found the number of deaths resulting from those conflicts climbed 69 per cent each year leading up to the soccer tournament.

The same happened in Beijing. In 2007, a year before the 2008 Olympics, the Geneva-based Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions estimated that the event would displace 1.5 million people. But China disputed the claim, saying only about 6,000 people were affected.

In Jakarta the story looks likely to be repeated. The city is not planning to build new sporting venues like Beijing did, but instead renovate the existing velodrome, horse-racing track and other facilities. The only brand new construction will be an athletes’ village in Kemayoran, central Jakarta, which at least according to current plans will not involve the mass relocation of people.

The plans for Jakarta’s Asian Games do not look likely to change Jakarta dramatically, which is good, given the many examples of new facilities left abandoned in the aftermath of global sporting festivals. However, the looming relocation, if not eviction, of more than 1,000 residents from their homes around the historical site Luar Batang in North Jakarta and a change in the light rail transit route in connection with the Asian Games should be cause for concern.

The city administration has yet to confirm that the planned relocation of the residents is directly linked to the Asian Games. Tourism revitalisation and flood control are the stated reasons behind the relocation, but city officials say that Asian Games organisers will also benefit from the project, the like of which has characterised Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama’s time in office.

The affected residents will be moved to rusunawa (low-cost apartments) located quite a long way from Luar Batang, a densely populated kampung (village community) situated between Museum Bahari and Sunda Kelapa Port.

The change to the LRT route was unveiled on Wednesday. Initially designed to connect Kelapa Gading in north Jakarta to Kebayoran in south Jakarta, the new railway will link the city’s

velodrome and horse-racing track in East Jakarta, Britama basket

ball court in Kelapa Gading, the athletes’ village in Kemayoran and Kota Tua Station in West Jakarta. Clearly that is an investment to indulge athletes and their

supporters.

Being a nice host of the games is the responsibility of both the administration and the people of Jakarta. A good host also has to give visiting athletes a memorable experience. However, better planning and consultation is crucial, simply to avoid wasting money and demanding unnecessary sacrifice on the part of the people.