Jokowi to Announce Bullet Train Project Winner, Minister Says

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  • Pengunjung melihat replika kereta api kecepatan tinggi yang dipamerkan oleh Perusahaan China Railway Corporation di Jakarta, 13 Agustus 2015. TEMPO/Wisnu Agung Prasetyo

    Pengunjung melihat replika kereta api kecepatan tinggi yang dipamerkan oleh Perusahaan China Railway Corporation di Jakarta, 13 Agustus 2015. TEMPO/Wisnu Agung Prasetyo

    TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Darmin Nasution, said that President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo will soon announce the winner of the bid for the construction of the high-speed rail link, before adding that his Ministry has sent in its' recommendation to the President.

    "The President is on the same page as us," said Darmin at his office on Thursday, September 3, 2015. That said, Darmin stopped short of detailing his recommendation for the President. "He'll announce the details very soon."

    According to Darmin, Jokowi had outlined his basic principles regarding the construction of the rail link - one of which is that the construction must not utilise the State Budget (APBN), whether directly or indirectly. "The investor could issue bonds to fund the project," Darmin said.

    Darmin said that both China's and Japan's proposals have their own pros and cons. According to the analysis of several independent consultants, Japan has the advantage when it comes to technological track records - but China wins when it comes to mitigating the socio-economic impact of the project. "The consultants that we hired focused on the success of each countries' in the development of their own rail network," Darmin said.

    It is known that the high-speed rail link was first proposed by the National Development Planning Agency (BAPPENAS) in 2011, who courted Japan as its' partner. In fact, Japan, through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) had given a grant totalling US$3,5 million to help fund the feasibility study of the project.

    The current suddenly changed when in March 2015, State-owned Minister Rini Soemarno signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Chinese - forcing the government to compare both proposals through a thorough comparative analysis.

    TRI ARTINING PUTRI | KHAIRUL ANAM