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If Officially Elected, Presidential Candidate Prabowo Subianto Eyes the Development of “Giant Sea Wall”

If Officially Elected, Presidential Candidate Prabowo Subianto Eyes the Development of "Giant Sea Wall"
If Officially Elected, Presidential Candidate Prabowo Subianto Eyes the Development of "Giant Sea Wall". Image Source: utara.jakarta.go.id

The presidential candidate (and likely frontrunner) Prabowo Subianto has been vocal about his idea of developing a so-called “giant sea wall” across the northern shores of Java Island to mitigate the recurring tidal floods in the area.

Airlangga Hartarto, the current Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs of Indonesia and Subianto’s political ally teased that such discourse might be close to realisation.

If the results of a quick count by various media are to be believed, Prabowo Subianto is poised to be the next and also the eighth President of the Republic of Indonesia. As the whole country waits for the official results announcement by General Elections Commissions (KPU) in late March, Airlangga Hartarto, the presiding chairman of the Golkar party and the current Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs of Indonesia, teased that one of Subianto’s main priorities as president would be spearheading the so-called “giant sea wall” across the northern shores of Java Island.

The Golkar party also happens to be one of the members of Subianto’s proponent coalition during the latter’s presidential run.

“There’s a huge homework that we must complete,” Hartarto told the press during one of Subianto’s campaign stops on 9th February. “We have seen how the people who reside on the northern shores of Java are still suffering from tidal floods [also known in Indonesian as ‘banjir rob‘], during which the land surface would dip 20 centimetres while the sea surface would rise 15 centimetres.”

Hartarto also teased that, behind closed doors, building a “giant sea wall” across the northern shores of Java—particularly around The North Coast Road (also known in Indonesian as Jalur Pantai Utara or Pantura)—has been a subject of continuous discussion between Subianto and the current president, Joko Widodo.

“This is a discussion that has been going on for a while now,” Hartarto added. “Our president, Joko Widodo and our presidential candidate, Prabowo Subianto have been discussing this matter. Let’s proceed with this. This ‘giant sea wall‘ could save 50 million lives.”

The destructive tidal flood on the northern shores of Java has been one of the most debated issues during Widodo’s presidential administrations. In January this year, the Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysical Agency warned the residents around Pantura that another tidal flood would hit the area, exacerbated by the peak rainy season and isolated thunderstorms. During an event called the National Giant Sea Wall Seminar taking place at the Grand Ballroom Kempinski, Jakarta, on 10th January, Subianto expressed his latest grievances over the state of Pantura and its surroundings.

“This [tidal wave] is not something that we should think of as normal. And this is not something that we should put up with in the next 10 or 15 years,” Subianto told the seminar attendees. The former also remarked that the tidal wave issue is “deeply heartbreaking and inhuman”.

Subianto added, “The children [who reside in the Pantura area] live by being surrounded by water—as if they were flies or mosquitoes or trash.”

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