FU, West Java – The West Java Community Forum (Formas) and the Association of Indonesian Citizen Journalists (PPWI) urge the Government of Indonesia, especially the Minister of Foreign Affairs, to directly inspect and evaluate the restoration activities of the Merdeka Building which is located on Jalan Asia-Afrika, Bandung City. This is because the project, which cost billions of rupiah in state funds, has strong indications of violating various regulations and violations occurred in its implementation.
This was conveyed by the Coordinator of the Forum for Community Organizations, NGOs and Communities in West Java Province, Hendra Mulyana, together with the Head of the DPD PPWI West Java, Agus Chepy Kurniadi, to this media, Friday, February 17 2023. “After conducting an investigation in the field, there is a building restoration project Merdeka meant, there were so many irregularities,” said Hendra Mulyana accompanied by Agus Chepy Kurniadi.
As is well known, Gedung Merdeka is a historic building that was once used as the venue for the 1955 Asia-Africa Summit. -Block. Also in 1955, on April 7, 1955, President Soekarno changed the name of the Societeit Concordia Building to Gedung Merdeka and Jalan Raya Pos to Jalan Asia Afrika.
Most recently, since the beginning of September 2022, the historic building has been restored by the West Java Provincial Government using West Java Province APBD funds for the 2022 Fiscal Year. Initially, restoration activities were expected to be completed in December 2022. The West Java Provincial Government stated that the implementation of the restoration work had received a recommendation from the Bandung City Cultural Heritage Expert Team. The recommendation was stated in the Letter of the Head of the Bandung City Culture and Tourism Office No. B/TU/4087/Disbudpar/VIII/2022 dated 22 August 2022 Regarding the TACB Recommendation Letter Jl. Asia Africa No. 65.
Recently, however, the Merdeka Building restoration project has received scrutiny. The chairman of the Garda Gadjah Putih Ormas for the city of Bandung, Wardani, for example, questioned various irregularities and alleged violations of regulations and technical work carried out by the project implementers. “On Monday, December 12, 2022, we conducted an investigation on the ground, regarding the Merdeka Building restoration project. However, after we checked, in fact we saw that there were irregularities in the project. On the project board, the work was carried out on September 2, 2022, with 121 calendar days. Supposedly, the work was 90% complete. But the fact is that we only assessed 30% of the work,” he told the media crew, last Tuesday (13/12/2022).
As chairman of the Gadjah Putih Guards, added Wardani, he suspected irregularities in the Merdeka Building restoration project. “There are indications of buying and selling projects,” he said.
Wardani also stated that from the start his party had overseen the Merdeka Building restoration work. First it was restored, we also supervised and controlled it in the field. But in fact, the workers in the restoration project did not comply with the regulations by applying K3 which refers to safety.
“We think that supervisors have been negligent in carrying out their duties for the safety of workers,” added another member of the White Gadjah Guard.
Meanwhile, Agus Chepy Kurniadi did not miss commenting. According to him, the Merdeka Building in the city of Bandung is a cultural heritage not only on a national scale but also on an international level. Therefore, the restoration process must be thorough and perfect. The restoration of the Gedung Merdeka building must refer to the Regulation of the Minister of Public Works and Public Housing, No. 01/PRT/Year 2015 concerning Preserved Cultural Heritage Buildings, Law no. 11 of 2010 concerning Cultural Conservation, and Government Regulation no. 36 of 2005 concerning Regulations for Implementing Law No. 28 of 2002, which specifically regulates the preservation of cultural heritage buildings.
“The construction budget is Rp. 4.1 billion, including major repairs, replacement of the roof truss for the west side, VIP room, wall repairs because there are already many cracks, ceilings, prayer rooms, toilets, painting, air conditioning and lighting. But the fact is that there are only 30% of jobs in the field, which should have been completed last December at least 90% of the work. So in this case, both the Regional Secretary, PPK, and the General Bureau of West Java Province must take professional responsibility for the restoration work of the Merdeka Building, which is meant as a cultural heritage,” explained Agus Chepy.
The chief editor of the online media Jayantaranews.com also said that his team was still investigating the alleged findings of corruption in the work budget misappropriation. “And if it is proven, then we will sue and report to APH, in this case the West Java Attorney General’s Office and the Republic of Indonesia Attorney General’s Office, to thoroughly investigate the matter,” added Agus Chepy.
As a resident of Bandung, he said, he hoped that this problem would be resolved as well as possible. “Don’t take it for granted. Even though it’s a small-scale building, it concerns Indonesia’s dignity in the eyes of the world. So don’t tarnish Indonesia’s face in the eyes of the world. And we, as Indonesians, really don’t accept that!” he insisted.
Meanwhile, Hendra Mulyana as the Coordinator of West Java Community Organizations, NGOs and Communities, when asked for a response to this issue, also spoke up. “Actually, if we address this issue, this is proof that we care and love this nation, because it concerns us and our future children and grandchildren. We have also met with PPK, and he also acknowledged the irregularity. And we want to give solutions, but as if ignoring them. If they still don’t respond to our good intentions, that’s fine, we will move to a higher level that is more authoritative. And we ask the Minister of Foreign Affairs to intervene,” he explained.
Hendra Mulyana added that his party questioned the government’s professionalism in working on the restoration of Merdeka Building. “We only question the Government, that regarding the handling of the restoration of the Merdeka Building in Bandung City it is very unprofessional, and has the potential to harm the state’s finances. Frankly, we are very disappointed with the Provincial Government. If compared to humans, the Merdeka Building screams!” he said.
On the same occasion, the Consultant Technical Specialist Team from the Forum for Mass Organizations, NGOs and West Java Communities, Kang Cakra, said that this problem had to be addressed. “Don’t stay silent, we already know, but why should we wait. Do we have to take steps like demonstrations, if we can still do it persuasively in coordination?” he said.
Until this news was published, the editorial staff had not been able to contact the relevant parties who had authority in terms of the restoration of the building in question. (TEAM/Ed)