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NEW UPDATES Asean Affairs 8 June 2015  

Iran seeks to invest in RI’s infrastructure

The government’s plan to carry out massive infrastructure projects across the country has attracted foreign investors, including the Iranian government, to invest in infrastructure, a senior official says.

Public Works and Public Housing Minister Basuki Hadimuljono on Friday had a meeting with Iranian Ambassador to Indonesia Valiollah Mohammadi Nasrabadi, as the western Asian country expressed its willingness to take part in housing, road and irrigation system projects.

“Iran had extensive experience in building houses for low income citizens, particularly during the administration of [former president] Ahmadinejad. Therefore, they are offering us cooperation to support our housing program,” Basuki told reporters on Friday.

The government is planning to build 1 million houses annually to reduce its housing backlog by providing affordable houses for low-income people. According to data from the ministry, the housing backlog stood at 13.5 million units as of 2014.

Of the 1 million homes to be built for low-income people this year, the government will be responsible for building 603,516 houses, while private developers will construct the remaining 396,484.

“Iran has a huge program with low-price housing. We will soon form a technical team that will be led by our secretary-general to discuss the detail of our future cooperation,” Basuki said.

In the initial stage, the ministry will construct 331,693 homes in the provinces of Aceh, North Sumatra, West Sumatra, Riau, Riau Islands, Lampung, South Sumatra, Jambi, Bengkulu, Bangka Belitung, Banten, Yogyakarta, Jakarta, West Java, Central Java and East Java.

On April 29, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo officially launched the program with a ground breaking ceremony for the construction of 103,135 homes in Semarang, Central Java.

According to Basuki, Iran also expressed its interest in joining a tender process for road projects in Sumatra, as well as cooperating in micro irrigation.

The government is planning to soon open the tender for the second stage of the Trans-Sumatra Highway, which comprises four sections: Terbanggi Besar-Pematang Panggang, Pematang Panggang-Kayu Agung, Palembang-Tanjung Api-api and Kisaran-Tebing Tinggi.

Basuki, however, said that both governments would further discuss which road projects in Sumatra had the potential for cooperation.

“Regarding the irrigation system, Indonesia already has cooperation with the International Commission on Irrigation and Drainage [ICID] and Iran is the president of the organization. They are really ahead of us in irrigation,” he said of the NGO, which supports programs to enhance the sustainable development of irrigated agriculture.

Basuki said the government had also offered assistance in building toll roads to the Iranian government since a number of state-owned construction companies had expertise in the sector.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

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.

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