Do you ever think why Jakarta got jammed every day? Got counts on the number of personal vehicle dancing towards town? Or do you already lost count, like mine? For people already experiencing Jakarta for years, it is a need to own a personal vehicle because the public transportation that supposed to help us doesn’t give any hope. The high number of criminalities and the heat got the most of it, I do realize that having a personal vehicle to facilitate your activities would make the travel more convenience. You don’t have to deal with the insanity of angkot driver who will do, basically, anything to achieve his wants. Stop his vehicle everywhere he wants, or driving like there is no tomorrow. You don’t have to deal with the impossible queue at TransJakarta or what sorcery that made people who stand behind us already got the bus ahead.
The vast growing technology supposed to help us to have a better life, but along the way, got mixed up with consumerism. The price of having a personal vehicle increased each and every day, yet the demand got higher. The city planner/developer/government (or whoever I don’t know) see the chances even clearer. They support this act by building more highways. Hiding behind the reason ‘the solution to traffic is to build more roads’, they gave more tangled problems by encouraging people to buy more vehicle. The result? Look around for yourself.
By April 1, 2012 Indonesian government planned to raise the price of petrol fuel prices. Thus they said that subsidiary of fuel prices will be diverted to build more infrastructure and fund the education/health projects. Or so they said. The demonstration to prevent the act risen up. In fact, the debate and pro-cons have been happen all month. One of the infamous debates took place on Metro TV. Some might say, it just political matters. Some say, it is time to bring down the president that he doesn’t take side with the citizen anymore.
In my opinion, I support the raise of petrol fuel prices. The mean fact is, if you can’t afford it, just don’t buy it. Many personal vehicle use subsidized fuel to accommodate their fuel needs, while subsidized fuel basically aimed for low income communities. But it is a core problem also to provide fuel with different prices (subsidized and non-subsidized) in same place without running any authority. Indonesia is the country where chances are being dug and slipped. It is just a common instinct to buy cheaper stuff where no one telling us the rule. Admit it, Indonesia is not ready to be a country to run by such morale and awareness. (For more interesting information, you can read the timeline of @MuhammadAssad and @gm_gm with hashtag #BBM)
In one of the discussion I have with my friends, one broke down an interesting point of view, which isn’t new, but it is what energy expertise would have said. It is time to step further and develop new alternative energy solution, trying to be independent with the so called ‘Premium’. Some included the use of BBG (Bahan Bakar Gas), as far as I know, TransJakarta and some public transportation already implemented the use of natural gas as fuel. And if you happen to know, I just stumbled upon a start-up company named Tinamitra Mandiri. Focused on providing sustainable development and run by my student’s body committee back at campus, Shana Fatina (which I adore). The company has been running several projects including the conversion of petrol based fuel vehicle to natural gas vehicle. Took place on Cirebon, the project provided soft loan scheme to convert the engine of some public transportation and changed the fuel to Compressed Natural Gas (CNG). The outcome of the fuel conversion lowered the percentage of CO2 emission up to 90% and saved up the annual maintenance cost. The technology solution to provide clean energy and high quality energy can be developed in so many ways that I believe Indonesia is already capable to do so. As I quoted one of my other friend’s two cents, “…maybe someday we can start to spot air as the source of energy”.
From the social point of view, I though it is natural act to do such mass protest. In Indonesia, fuel hike means the raise for others commodities, and the one who will be disadvantage the most (once again) is the low income communities. These communities don’t want to know about APBN budget cut, or any other energy solution. What they know is the effect of the act. I thought, government should try to educated this people and share their blueprint/master plan of energy crisis and their solution. The fuel hike is only short term plan, and maybe will take effect by 1-2 years ahead. After that, will such mass protect likely to occur again? The government doesn’t give a transparent master plan of what will happen after the hike (or they don’t have such)? They just give reasons, and other reasons, finally they sent military service to handle the protest. How lovely. I thought, such master plan is needed so this country can move further based on that, to calm people, let them understand that we are moving in the right direction. Energy crisis is inevitable with such raise of population and Indonesia should be prepared. We can’t always rely on global price anymore.
It gave me such a view, maybe it is really political needs after all (because back on 2008, fuel price raised to exactly Rp 6.000,00 for only 2 days, then Mr. President became such a hero back then. He reduced the price to normal price and got elected again on Pemilu 2009. But really, I don’t have interest in political scheme here). Maybe there is so many other needs behind the raise of fuel price, maybe the budget cutting won’t benefit the poor. Maybe the fund will go to some minority’s pocket. There is so many what if and maybe. But if we traced back to the main core of the problem, we should prepare the solution to this problem. We should be ready to step further. One step, one of a time.
The government supposed to see their people as an asset, not a pawn. The energy projects I said above, is not entirely new things. In some part of this country, many energy alternatives project have been run successfully. But the government doesn’t seem eager to explore it further. Maybe, there is really a stream that we can’t resist. So as conclusion, I just want to ask you to spread the knowledge. Educated more people and spread the positivity. Cursing people (whether it is the government or the protester) won’t get you anywhere anyway.
Many thanks to M. Ers Harry, Miftah Faridh, M. Fajri, M. Ashr, and Herry Prasetyo for the nice discussion. A few left from the original chosen ones ;)