Wow… The Magnificent Jakarta International Stadium

The grandiose Jakarta International Stadium

Have you visited the newly-built Jakarta International Stadium (JIS)?

I have. Last April 19, I attended the soft-launching of this magnificent venue. It is another achievement by Governor Anies Baswedan that can make his political opponents be more envious, since he has been touted as one of the strongest candidates in the 2024 presidential race.

The soft launching of JIS was noted as a historical moment not only for Jakarta but also for Indonesia. During the launch, spectators enjoyed an interesting world class soccer final between Barcelona U-18 who beat Atletico Madrid U-18 with a 1-0 score.

Enrich with original Jakarta ethnic culture, the event was also enriched when the soccer players asked to take pictures with Anies, and hundredths of his fans.

Before the match: Anies at the Soft-launching

Quoting President Sukarno, Anies proudly said in his speech that, ‘one more important promise has been paid, that is the accomplishment of our dream as a big nation.’

More than just a magnificent international stadium, it is planned to be the ideal place for many other purposes. Developed through a green concept with 82,000-capacity, JIS will be the first soccer stadium in Asia equipped with a retractable roof, allowing games and shows to go on uninterrupted in the event of heavy rain.

Having exterior covered with perforated aluminum composite panels, JIS is the second-largest retractable-roof stadium by capacity in the world, after AT&T Stadium in Texas, USA. Budgeted around Rp. 4.5 trillion (US$312 million) in city funds, JIS was built on 26.5 hectares of land and in compliance with FIFA standards.

Anies witnesses Barcelona U-18 celebration at JIS soft-launching.

For more than 10 years Jakarta sporting communities have been waiting to have a new stadium. Jakarta lost one of its landmarks when Lebak Bulus Stadium was demolished in 2011 to be replaced by a new Mass Rapid Transit station.

No wonder this largest stadium in Indonesia has been applauded by many, including the ex-Jakarta Governor Mr. Sutiyoso. The governor who served Jakarta between 1997 to 2007, said that this kind of venue was also his dreams, so that it can be the home for Jakarta’s soccer club Persija and its more than 100 thousand fans of “Jakmania”.

As the most popular sport for most people, soccer players and their fans from all social class need a representative stadium, that’s why during his term Mr. Sutiyoso already picked the land for a new venue, but due to economic crisis at that time, he could not proceed with the plan. “Now I am happy now to see this venue,” said Sutiyoso who has visited the stadium.

The old Lebak Bulus stadium.

Can also host live performances such as music concerts, this platinum-certified green stadium (accredited by the Green Building Council Indonesia) can be another formula to boost more domestic and international tourists to the capital, which may lead the way to more exciting profitable ventures, a reviving variance from the already drenched shopping malls.

Hoped to be a godsend for health, environment, and economy, according to Anies, JIS needs good commercial management so that the funds obtained from using the stadium for various activities could be accounted for. “Of course, one of the measures is to manage this commercially so that it can be accounted for and hopefully, there will be sufficient income when it is used for various activities,” said Anies during the soft launching.

Apart from using a mixture of 95 percent natural grass and synthetic grass, JIS applies pied stilt birds as an unconventional approach for field maintenance. By letting them out each day to eat pests, these birds from Central Java can be effective to maintain the fertility of the grass without the need to use harmful pesticides.

Watch “Building Asia’s Largest Retractable Stadium” in YouTube:

Since became the Governor in October 2017, Anies envisioned that Jakarta must serve as collaborative city with equality and social justice as its mantra, thus it can create a better and more advanced city with happier people (‘Maju Kotanya, Bahagia Warganya’).

One of Jakarta’s park.

To name just a few of the accomplishments, since 2018 Jakarta has built new flyovers, 241 kilometers of sidewalks, 40 child friendly playgrounds, various public spaces such as 296 city parks, 29 urban forests and 154 green lanes, along with revitalizations of rivers, lakes and kampongs in slum areas.

As the locomotive driving the acceleration of Jakarta’s progress in all aspects, Governor Baswedan has also shown his eagerness to make Jakarta a world leader in public transportation by shifting the paradigm from car-oriented development to transit-oriented development, for instance, by doubling the coverage of public transportation from 42 percent in 2017 to 82 percent and setting a target of operating 14,000 electric buses (or 60 percent of the city’s bus fleet) by 2030.

Albeit criticisms from his detractors, this new facility will undoubtedly promote a bigger support from Indonesian people to nominate Anies as the ideal candidate for the 2024 presidential race. Many surveys showed Anies will be a tough contender for his competitors. Several opinion polling indicated that he competes vigorously with Defense Minister and Gerindra Party chairman Prabowo Subianto, and Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo.

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