Silvia Halim, Director of Construction – PT MRT Jakarta, shares the long journey leading to the realisation of a mega project that is expected to provide a critical solution to Jakarta’s transportation woes.
Up until March 2019, Jakarta—one of the most populous megapolitans in the world—did not have a modern mass transportation mode, although the development idea for the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) has been around for more than 30 years.
The idea was first mooted in the 1980s by Bacharuddin Jusuf Habibie, while he was serving as Head of the Agency for the Assessment and Application of Technology (Badan Pengkajian dan Penerapan Teknologi, BPPT). In 1993, a study was conducted by the Consolidated Network Plan (CNP), which also concluded that the MRT was the most feasible choice for Jakarta. When Habibie served as Minister of Research and Technology in 1996, he prepared a proposal for a 14-kilometre MRT line from the Blok M district to Kota Tua; unfortunately, the 1998 economic crisis crushed this dream.
The dream re-emerged in 2010 when the Governor of Jakarta at that time, Fauzi Bowo, met with Habibie to translate the previous MRT ideas into reality. The funding problem was overcome with a loan from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). Finally, in 2012, the design of Phase I of the MRT development was inaugurated, stretching 15.7 kilometres through the south-north corridor, from Lebak Bulus to Bundaran HI.
How was the process of implementing the MRT project in Jakarta?
The project was physically carried out in October 2013 and officially accomplished with the ground-breaking of the MRT Jakarta Phase I. Before October 2013, the focus of PT MRT Jakarta, the provincial government of Jakarta and the national government was to set up a loan agreement between Indonesia and Japan through JICA. The IDR16 trillion project was funded by three loan packages from JICA.
Director of Construction, PT MRT Jakarta
Born in Jakarta, Halim graduated from the civil engineering faculty at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. She worked for 12 years in the Singapore Land Transport Authority (LTA), where she was project manager for several infrastructure project, especially in land transportation systems that focused on road tunnels. As Director of Construction of the MRT Jakarta project since 31 August 2016, Halim is the only woman in the profile list of company directors who is responsible for maintaining and overseeing work in terms of progress, quality, safety and security of the development process.
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