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Gorontalo's Soeharto bridge slammed

Jakarta Post - February 15, 2014

Gorontalo – The Boalemo administration has been slammed for naming two new bridges – in the capital of Boalemo regency Tilamuta in Gorontalo – after late president Soeharto and Tien Soeharto, his wife.

Boalemo Regent Rum Pagau said the administration wanted to remember Soeharto's services to the nation.

Columnist and social observer from the Gorontalo State University, Basri Amin, said the naming of bridges showed that the administration had arbitrarily used public funds without a public consolation. "There are many name choices that are clearer in terms of biography and history," said Basri.

According to him, Soeharto is highly inappropriate and his title, Father of Development, was not a good enough reason for his name to be dedicated as a symbol of regional development.

"Don't forget that the title was only given to Soeharto because he had carried out a lot of physical development, even in militaristic ways and depleted the country's natural resources," he pointed out.

Rum said that there was no particular intention behind the choice of name as he claimed he only wished to call on Boalemo residents to respect the services of heroes.

"Soeharto's name has been rejected as a hero or the name of roads in other regions, but this does not apply to residents in Boalemo regency," Rum pointed out, adding the regency administration had allocated Rp 15 billion to build the Soeharto bridge, while the Ibu Tien Soeharto Bridge cost Rp 5 billion.

He added that since being inaugurated on Feb. 1, the two bridges, which were completed in eight months, had been swarmed by people.