Chinese Investment In Indonesia’s Mount Rinjani Cable Car Project – OpEd – Eurasia Review

About the investment

In recent months, China has continuously invested in various sectors in Southeast Asian countries, including Indonesia. Based on research done by some experts, they say that China has been active in investing recently because it is in line with the big program they are currently carrying out, the Belt and Road Initiative. One of China’s well-known investments in Indonesia is the Jakarta-Bandung high-speed train; However, Indonesia’s tourism sector has also become a concern for China, and one of the attentions that China has is an investment in the Mount Rinjani cable car line.

This cable car project started in December 2022 and started with the groundbreaking on December 18, 2022, the day after the Nusa Tenggara Barat (NTB) anniversary. The groundbreaking process was also carried out with investors from China who were planned as managers and investors. The project, which is expected to be completed in 2025, will require a budget of at least Rp. 2.2 billion, which is very different from the initial projection, which was only intended for a budget of Rp. 600 billion. According to some reports, the increase in the budget is because the project will later be equipped with various facilities, for example resorts and also regional arrangements.

Zulkieflimansyah (the governor of West Nusa Tenggara (NTB)) explained that the existence of the ropeway project in Lombok makes Lombok one of the centers of world tourism destinations; he also explained that this route will be built about 10 kilometers long and will be connected to various tourism facilities.

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Influence on the economy

This grandiose project has advantages and disadvantages for the community. Many people fear that this project will make them lose their jobs due to reduced interest in climbing Mount Rinjani. In addition, the municipality also fears that in the future many tourists will prefer to use cable cars rather than hiring porters and guides. But contrary to the opinions of the people, the governor of NTB himself said the opposite. He explained that this development would give fresh air to the tourism sector in the NTB. In addition, this project was also intended to open new jobs for the people of NTB. Zulkieflimansyah also said that later the porters will be improved by training new skills to adapt to the new environment, and Zulkieflimansyah also assured that there is still a lot of interest in climbing Mount Rinjani.

According to Zulkieflimansyah, the cable car is used as an alternative for tourists who want to enjoy the beauty of the hills on Mount Rinjani. He explained that protests by some residents were normal because this was something new. The cable car facility is expected to cost around IDR 500,000, with the hope that this large sum of money will strengthen and provide income for the NTB Regional Government and the Central Government.

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Influence on the environment

Meanwhile, if we look at this project from an environmental perspective, Zulkieflimansyah was reluctant to talk about an environmental impact analysis (AMDAL) related to the construction of this project, but he promised that later this big project will not sacrifice the protected forest area. the foot of Mount Rinjani. Meanwhile, according to Mohammad Rum, the head of the Penanaman modal & pelayanan tepata satu pintu (DPPMPTSP), this project would not damage the environment because it was built outside the path of Mount Rinjani National Park (MRNP), precisely under or outside of MRNP.

However, in July, a non-governmental organization (NGO) called Wahana lingingan hidup (WALHI) NTB requested that the provincial government conduct a study on the disastrous impact of this project. WALHI wanted to see this project not only from an economic and economic perspective, but also from an environmental perspective. Amri Nuryadin, who is the director of WALHI NTB, also emphasized that the approval process and the review of the feasibility study (FS) and the detailed engineering design (DED) must be seen more comprehensively. He also explained that since this is a big project, the impact will also be big. Therefore, do not let the residents suffer a disaster just for economic reasons. He also explained that this project should not end up the same as the Lantan 459 Motor Cross Circuit project which caused even the local people to experience a flood disaster.

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The next steps

The reaction of the local residents, who are worried about losing their jobs, as well as seeing resistance from the residents, should convince the regional government and the central government more. Although it is necessary, the government has provided guarantees to the community in the form of funds, skills training, security of job opportunities and other things. Both the local administration and the central government must know that the investment should be an investment that offers benefits to the state, the region and the community. Society is an important point, because with this investment the first to feel its influence is the community.

With China’s recent state of investing intensively as a form of implementing the Belt and Road Initiative program, Indonesia should not accept all investments from China that come. The government should also pay more attention to which investments are profitable for the country and which investments are probably not profitable. In addition, Indonesia must also be aware that Indonesia not only needs investment from China, but on the other hand, China also needs Indonesia as a supporting factor for the Belt and Road Initiative program they are working on. Therefore, if this is implemented, the future state of the negotiations and the strength of Indonesia cannot be underestimated by China.

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