Jakarta – The next governors of Jakarta and the city's residents bear the responsibility to preserve and maximize the use of the newly built Jakarta International Stadium (JIS) in North Jakarta, which was constructed for the well-being of the people. It often happens that new leaders abandon or neglect the works of their predecessors for no reason.
That has also been the case in Jakarta, as evident in the neglected child-friendly integrated public space (RPTRA) in Kalijodo, West Jakarta. Former governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama demolished the capital's largest and oldest red-light district in 2016 to transformed it into a child-friendly public space equipped with an international-standard skatepark.
For Governor Anies Baswedan, JIS is his signature legacy especially when he leaves office on Oct. 16. Unsurprisingly, he chose to have Idul Fitri prayers on Monday at the compound of the stadium, along with thousands of Jakarta residents. A number of politicians from the ruling coalition were seen joining Anies at the religious event.
The governor was in a joyful mood because he had delivered on his campaign promise to build a new stadium five years ago.
"This stadium is a masterpiece not just because of its physical appearance, but also because of the hard work, vision and ideals that are attached to this building," Anies said.
Anies is scheduled to inaugurate the stadium in the near future. He has invited President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo to attend the inauguration ceremony.
JIS is a replacement for Lebak Bulus Stadium in South Jakarta, which was demolished in 2015 to pave the way for the main MRT depot.
The 82,000-seater stadium with a retractable roof was built on 26.5 hectares of land. The multipurpose stadium is 7 meters high with nine floors offering various facilities, including commercial space and parking. It cost Rp 4.5 trillion (US$312 million) to build, funded by the city budget.
The stadium is a platinum-certified green stadium. It uses hybrid grass (a mixture of 95 percent natural and 5 percent synthetic grass).
JIS will be an alternative venue for Gelora Bung Karno (GBK) Stadium in Senayan, which was built in 1960 by founding president Sukarno. GBK is a multisport complex, where an Olympic-standard swimming pool, tennis courts, archery shooting range, a sports hall, among other facilities, are available. GBK is also a popular place for jogging, cycling and yoga.
Anies has the right to take pride in JIS as proof of his achievements, despite criticism from his detractors, who include Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) councilors. In fact, the governor has also demonstrated his commitment to sports development, as evident in his role in the construction and renovation of sports venues before Jakarta hosted the Asian Games in 2018.
Hopefully, JIS will become an everlasting and tangible legacy of Anies. Whoever succeeds him in mid-October and leads Jakarta after the November 2024 regional elections should take care of the new stadium. It is always easier to construct new buildings than to maintain them.
All Jakartans are obliged to preserve JIS as a new icon of the city.