Blog, Politics

Movements and Prosperity

The essence of business is movements. Movements of people, goods, information, money. Even in this modern era where people can place orders of goods and services through Internet, by fax, email, or phone, there will still be movements of raw materials to factories or centers of production, finished products to distributors, to stores and to customers. There are movements of people to different places for different purposes that directly or indirectly generate businesses.

When movements are convenient, efficient, fast, reliable and secure, businesses will grow vertically as well as horizontally, and so does prosperity. If prosperity of the people is one of the ultimate goals of the nation, as written in the state ideology of Pancasila (the Five Principles), then movements of people, goods and information shall be one of the top priorities of the leaders in the government offices and in the parliament rooms.

Pancasila says (1) Belief in one God, (2) Just and civilized humanity, (3) The unity of Indonesia, (4) Democracy guided by wisdom through consultation and representation, (5) Social justice for the whole of Indonesia people.

The fifth principle gives guidance to government officials, lawmakers as well as the society in general to work towards the prosperity of all citizens. In reality, however, 62 years after the declaration of independence, 16.5% of the population still live below poverty line. Myriad factors contributed to the grim pictures, both from within and without. For now, let's just focus on movements factor.

Indonesia is full of exotic places to be visited, enjoyed and admired by both locals as well as foreigners. If we can influence more local people, and of course foreigners, to leave their homes on Saturdays, Sundays and during holidays to visit various places across the country, either by road, sea or air, the impact to the economic advancement will be enormous. The issue is how to craft the right message about the destiny and give positive experience to travellers once they are there.

In order to lure people to make more movements across the archipelago, central government shall find ways to expedite the construction of toll road to connect Banda Aceh at Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam Province to Bakauheni at Lampung Province, and toll road that connect Merak-Jakarta to Surabaya-Banyuwangi. Another toll road that needs to be built is the one that connect Makassar in South Sulawesi to Manado at the North.

Currently Jalan Raya Lintas Sumatera has connected Banda Aceh and Bakauheni with total length of 2,508.5 km. The conditions of the road, however, were not quite reliable, not that safe, and not too convenient. In Java there's Jalan Raya Pantura that currently connects Anyer-Jakarta-Semarang-Surabaya-Banyuwangi. Whilst there were significant improvements for the last 10 years or so, they are still unpredictable, sometimes unreliable, and inconvenient especially during rainy seasons.

Trans-Selatan Jawa (Trans-Southern Java) that connect Anyer-Banyuwangi through the southern route is still under land preparation. Even though they are not turnpikes, the new roads will still boost movements across cities in Java island. The road that will span 639 km in length including bridges will connect five provinces: Banten, West Java, Central Java, DI Yogyakarta and East Java.

It's crucial then for the provincial governments to create and maintain smooth connections between the toll roads or the national road to places of interests, sources of raw material and production centres in regencies and villages.

Red tapes and extortion on the roads shall be eliminated throughout the road chains. Movements of goods and people shall be fast, smooth and efficient. The government may need to increase significantly salaries and allowance of traffic police units and highway traffic agency units, and take stern actions for any corrupt practices. If we can fix the corrupt practice on the streets, we will be able to boost people morale and self-confidence.

Security and convenience are another important factors to be considered. Airport securities all over the country need to be improved and strengthened to give assurance to travelers on their safety. Public bus and railway stations have to be freed from thuggery and scalpers. Their safety standards also need to be upgraded. Stern actions need to be taken, consistently throughout the year.

Movements of people and goods from one place to another has to be encouraged, facilitated and incentivized. Movements will bring more business to less develop areas and likewise. More businesses will create more job opportunities that will eventually be able to alleviate poverty problems that haunted the country for so many years already.

Let's make a plan to visit places across the country that we have never been there before, and spend some of our savings wisely to help the local economy grow.

, seorang pejalan musiman dan penyuka sejarah. Penduduk Jakarta yang sedang tinggal di Cikarang Utara. Diperbarui: April 29, 2008.

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