Jakarta. The Indonesian capital has decided to postpone its controversial electric car race, the Jakarta Formula E scheduled to take place on June 6, to avoid worsening the Covid-19 outbreak, Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan said on Wednesday.
"We've decided to postpone the Formula E in June. The replacement date will be discussed later," Anies said in a press conference.
The $120 million race has drawn controversies due to its astronomical costs and the damage it might cause to one of Jakarta's most famous cultural landmark, the National Monument (Monas). The race's street track was supposed to go in and around the Monas Square.
The race became the target of even more criticisms this year after Jakarta suffered two massive floods in two months and it was pointed out the millions spent on the race could have been better used for flood-mitigation.
Anies had for a long time maintained his stance that the Formula E race could bring huge economic benefits for Jakarta in terms of publicity, image-building and tourist visits.
But for now, he said it would be best for the organizers and the government to put the health and safety of Jakarta's residents first amid an escalating coronavirus outbreak.
"The Formula E will have a great economic impact, but if there are risks for residents, we must postpone it," Anies said.
"Tourists from other countries will come here for the race. The risks may be too great for Jakarta if tourists from countries that have the coronavirus come to the city," he said.
Anies said Jakarta Propertindo, the city-controlled company responsible for organizing the race, and Formula E Operation (FEO), which owns the race license, have both agreed to postpone the Jakarta race.
The Covid-19 outbreak has already forced China to cancel the Formula E race in Sanya that was scheduled for March 21. Italy also canceled its April 4 race in Rome.