Jakarta (ANTARA) - President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) has called for the base transceiver station (BTS) project by the Communication and Informatics Ministry to still be pursued, Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs Mahfud MD affirmed.

"As it has been designed as a strategic development policy to serve the public since 2006, and it has been going well every year and done responsibly, so we do our best to continue the progress," the minister, appointed as acting communication and informatics minister, stated here on Monday.

The minister spoke of meeting President Jokowi to express his readiness to fulfill duties as interim communication and informatics minister following Johnny G. Plate being named as suspect by the Attorney General's Office (AGO) over alleged corruption in the BTS project.

Mahfud said that if the project were to be halted, then the people would not be able to have the required telecommunications access.

"Hence, the president ordered for the (project) to not stop and to be pushed as best as possible," he remarked.

Concurrently, legal proceedings will also continue over the corruption suspects, he remarked.

The minister noted that the AGO is still pursuing the investigation into the case.

"We will find ways, so the project keeps on going," he affirmed.

The minister said that the development of the BTS project kicked off in 2006 and went smoothly until 2019.

However, the project encountered some issues during the 2020-2021 period, he stated.

"In December, when the report on funding uses should have been handed, there was neither the (report) nor the progress on (development of) BTS itself, the towers, until December 2021," he remarked.

He noted that COVID-19 was also cited as a reason by the budget recipients for leniency in the project's development progress.

After they were granted leniency, they reported that 1,100 of the targeted 4,200 towers have been completed, the minister remarked.

Satellite was utilized to check the progress, and it turned out that there were only 958 towers, though it was unknown as to whether all of them were functional, he remarked.

"Of the 958 towers, it is unknown whether they are functional because of the eight samples tested, none of them worked as the set specifications," he said.

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Translator: Indra Arief Pribadi, Mecca Yumna
Editor: Sri Haryati
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