Asphalt pavement is installed around the National Monument Park in Central Jakarta on February 22, 2020 to build a street circuit for Formula E race. (Lenny Tristia Tambun)

Jakarta Council Fails to Open Inquiry into Formula E Race Plan

BY :YUSTINUS PAAT

SEPTEMBER 28, 2021

Jakarta. The Jakarta Legislative Council on Tuesday failed to initiate a motion against the city government’s plan to host a Formula E race next year as not enough councilors were present.

The Jakarta race has met resistance from the ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) and the Indonesian Solidarity Party (PSI) who argued that the money should be better directed to more urgent needs such as the city’s Covid-19 response.

However, seven other parties throw their weight behind Governor Anies Baswedan’s ambition for the country’s first Formula E race.

The governor said last month he stood firm with the plan and even stated when the race is scheduled to occur: June 2022.

Only 27 councilors were present in the Tuesday’s meeting, all are members of PDI-P and PSI.

It takes a simple majority of councilors to initiate an inquiry into government policies – in this case 53 councilors or more.

“The forum fails to reach a ‘50 percent plus one’ requirement and accordingly the plenary session on the inquiry is adjourned,” Council Speaker Prasetio Edi Marsudi told the hearing.

He said he would not use the word “canceled”.

The race was initially scheduled to take place in 2020, but delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic – which prompted another cancellation in the following year. 

Despite the session being adjourned, PDI-P politician Johnny Simanjuntak was given a chance to detail reasons why his party opposes the race.

Firstly, municipal property company Jakarta Propertindo, or Jakpro, has failed to elaborate the overall costs in hosting the electric car race, Johnny said. The company has been appointed by the city government to build necessary infrastructures for the race, including the construction of a street circuit around the landmark National Monument (Monas) Park.

Secondly, the funding fully depends on the city budget without any attempt to get external financial sources, Johnny said.

Thirdly, the city budget is currently under pressures due to extra health spending concerning the pandemic.

Fourthly, the Supreme Audit Agency (BPK) has warned that the race could potentially inflict a loss of Rp 106 billion ($7.4 million) to the city budget if the government is to pay the commitment fee, Johnny said.

The financial losses will grow even bigger if the city reaches a three-year contract with Formula E organizers from 2022, Johnny said, noting that Anies’ current term expires next year.

The governor declined to comment on the council’s meeting.

“I cannot comment on the internal process [of the city council], so let’s see what happens next,” Anies said.

His supporters in the council refused to take part in the session, saying the Formula E agenda wasn’t initially mentioned but was “illegally included” by the council speaker.

Speaker Prasetio, a PDI-P executive, has denied doing such a thing.

According to the BPK, the city government has paid Formula E Operations £53 million in 2019-20 to win the right for hosting a race. Of that amount, £22 million has been returned due to race cancellations.

The 2022 Formula E provisional calendar does not mention Jakarta among the city hosts of next year’s 16 races. But the host for the June 4 race is left empty under the TBC mark. 

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