Jakarta – Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan has decided to postpone the much-anticipated Formula E electric motorsports championship, which was initially scheduled to take place on June 6, as the city grapples with the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak.
The capital's administration has decided to postpone Formula-E to a later date while monitoring the development of the outbreak to protect the safety of the people in Jakarta, especially with the risks that there might be foreign tourists from virus-affected countries coming to the event, Anies said.
"We don't want to sacrifice the people's safety for the sake of economic benefit," he said on Wednesday.
City-owned developer PT Jakarta Propertindo's director and Jakarta E-Prix Organizing Committee (OC) chairman Dwi Wahyu Daryoto said the committee had received the governor's instruction to reschedule the championship to a later date.
"After an intensive discussion with the Formula E organizer as a stakeholder, we have come to an agreement that the Jakarta E-prix will be postponed from its initial date of June 6, 2020," he said in a press release on Wednesday.
Indonesia has confirmed 27 cases of COVID-19 to date and reported the first possible community transmission of the disease on Tuesday, after a citizen with no link to certain confirmed cases or travel history to affected countries tested positive for the virus.
Before COVID-19 forced the Jakarta administration to postpone the Formula-E championship, the administration had previously been adamant about holding the Formula E championship in the city despite several controversies.
A politician from the ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), Gilbert Simanjuntak, previously criticized the budget plan of Rp 1.6 trillion (US$1.1 billion) to build Formula E infrastructure.
He compared Jakarta's plan to Hong Kong's, which hosted the 2018-2019 Formula E season and only spent about 300 million Hong Kong dollars ($39 million).
The provincial administration also had a feud with the central government, when the State Secretariat initially rejected a request to use the National Monument (Monas) complex as a circuit for Formula E.
The secretariat argued that Monas was a heritage site and that any heavy modifications might cause major damage, but retracted its objection in February as the committee vowed to preserve the cleanliness, vegetation and security of the area. (mpr)