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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        14  April 2011

Indo regulation reform needed for infrastructure

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As many as 16 infrastructure projects are being offered to foreign investors this week at an international forum, but prospective investors say the government should focus more on fixing the regulatory framework needed to expedite existing projects.

Jean Emmanuel Seixas, a representative from French engineering and consulting company Egis, said on Wednesday that the government should focus on its most important projects.

“I think there are too many projects the government is trying to offer,” he said on the sidelines of the three-day Indonesia International Infrastructure Conference in Jakarta.

The government is offering 16 projects worth more than US$30 billion at the forum, which is hosted by the Indonesian Chamber of Trade and Commerce (Kadin).

“We’re actually interested in some of the projects, especially the railway projects. However, there are still several issues like land acquisition and transparency that need to be resolved,” Seixas said.

“Land acquisition is the main problem. How can we build without land? After we acquire the land, we can see the other problems that may arise afterward.”

He also noted a lack of transparency and fairness in tender projects that tend to discourage many potential investors.

Crumbling infrastructure has been blamed for hampering Indonesia economic growth and scaring off potential investors. In response, the government has led a push to upgrade the nation’s roads, ports and power stations.

Ignatius Jonan, president director of state railway company Kereta Api Indonesia, shared Seixas’s concern over too many projects being offered.

“The government is planning to build or upgrade several railway tracks. With the land acquisition law still uncertain, we’d rather focus on our own capacity expansion because that is more feasible,” he said.

Among the projects on offer are a 33-kilometer railway connecting Soekarno-Hatta International Airport and Manggarai, the Purukcahu-Bangkuang railway and the Bali tourism railway.

“We’ve decided to pull out of the tender for the SHIA-Manggarai railway project, but we’re doing a feasibility study on the 500-kilometer railway encircling Bali,” Jonan said.

He said the Bali railway project was estimated to cost around $2 billion and would involve KAI, the provincial administration and the Transportation Ministry.

“The Bali government will provide the land, the ministry will provide the railway and KAI will provide the trains and will be the operator,” he said.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
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It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More


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