Indonesian minister defends high speed railway project

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - State Enterprises Minister Rini Soemarno has deplored baseless criticism by certain parties of the Jakarta-Bandung high speed railway project, saying all procedures were followed transparently and the project was being undertaken as per a business-to-business formula.

"I am sad to see some people always talking about the high speed train without backing their allegations with clear facts and data," she told journalists after a seminar on synergy among state-owned companies in responding to challenges and opportunities faced by the ASEAN Economic Community.

She said the presidential decree for this high speed railway project stipulates that there will be no state budget guarantee for it. "If I violate it, I can be subject to charges under Criminal Code and so will be the state enterprises," she said.

Thus, the guarantee that the stakeholders within PT Kereta Cepat Indonesia-China (KCIC), a joint venture between an Indonesian consortium of four state enterprises and China Railway International Co.Ltd, had requested was related to just legal certainty for its operation, and did not amount to any debt-guarantee from the state budget.

The construction of this 142.3 kilometer railway worth US$5.5 billion has been underway after President Joko Widodo officially launched it with a ground-breaking ceremony on January 21, 2016. This project then triggered a debate about pros and cons in the society.

Certain parties alleged that this high speed railway project was being backed by a government guarantee even though from the beginning, the Indonesian government has been asserting that it will not give any guarantee from the state budget.(*)

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