Yustinus Paat, Jakarta – Anies Baswedan, who won the 2017 Jakarta gubernatorial election by campaigning against coastal reclamation, insisted on Sunday the landfill project at the Ancol beach resort would continue to reclaim at least 155 hectares of new land from the Jakarta Bay.
The governor said the reclamation project aims to make Ancol the biggest and the best tourism attraction in Asia.
In a video message aired on the city's YouTube Channel, Anies claimed the project would use excavated soils and mud from 13 rivers and 30 dams as infill.
"Where do the excavated soils go? We send them to Ancol. This process has been going quite a long time that we have now collected 3.4 million cubic meters of soils," Anies said.
He claimed that the Ancol project was different from the reclamation project to build 17 islands off Jakarta's northern coast, which he opposed during the election.
The island projects, initiated by private investors who wanted to develop new commercial areas in the country's biggest city, have disregarded environmental preservation and maritime biodiversity, he said.
According to Anies, the new islands disturbed the stream of major rivers, further exposing the city to flood disaster. He said he had revoked reclamation permit for 13 islands, while the other four should continue because they were already near completion when he took office.
"The 17 islands are against the public interests and they are facing legal issues. Meanwhile, the Ancol project has been initiated by the government to protect Jakarta residents from floods," he said.
Anies said he had approved 155 hectares of new reclamation land for Ancol. Over the last 11 years, river and dam excavation has produced soils for around 20 hectares of new land in East Ancol.
"Excavation works will continue in our rivers and dams, while we also plan to excavate land for the MRT tunnel," Anies said, referring to the city's mass rapid transit project that will be expanded to the northern part of the capital city.
"We need an area of at least 155 hectares to accommodate excavated soils."
Anies said a museum dedicated for Prophet Mohammed will be built on the reclamation land, occupying an area of 3 hectares.
"The museum about the history of the prophet will be built on the coastline, part of Ancol. This is going to be the biggest museum for the prophet outside Saudi Arabia," Anies said.
Ancol received 20 million visitors every year and its economic contribution to Jakarta has been tremendous, he said.
"This area is designed to become a center for tourism activities, not just for Indonesia, but also for Southeast Asia or even Asia," Anies said.