Born in Bukittinggi, West Sumatra, Ir. Raswari, M.M. has more than 33 years of experience in the fields of oil, gas, liquid natural gas (LNG), geothermal, nuclear multi-purpose reactor and building construction.
Raswari graduated from the University of Indonesia, majoring in mechanical engineering, in 1981 and obtained his Master of Management from STIE-IPWI in 2001. He is an active member of the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce for Oil & Gas and serves as chairman of the Indonesian Professional Engineers Association (PIPI, Persatuan Insinyur Profesional Indonesia).
The challenge of developing the construction and energy industries in Indonesia is getting bigger, especially with lack of certified competent expertise to support the development of these industries. This drives Raswari to develop PIPI to collaborate with relevant stakeholders and raise the professionalism and skills of existing technical experts to international standards.
What has PIPI been doing for the construction and architecture industries in Indonesia?
We have held many international conferences and seminars since 1996. Every two years until 2004, we hosted these complimentary events in five-star hotels, with 200 to 300 stakeholders. We resumed them in 2010 until 2015, with annual conferences and seminars covering the fields of oil and gas, power plants, energy and construction.
We have also held meetings with foreign embassies and industry delegates to discuss and develop such industries in Indonesia. We have been appointed as keynote speakers in several countries in Asia. Once, we were invited to Dubai to present on labour and construction service personnel, including architects and civil engineers.
What are some of the challenges facing PIPI?
The main challenge is that there are still many in Indonesia who do not appreciate the value of the Certificates of Competency (CoC). The CoC is very important in this era of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), as any professional or skilled workers (including engineers, architects and surveyors) with a recognised competency certificate can now work in any country within Southeast Asia. However, fewer than 2 per cent of Indonesian skilled professionals and workers hold a CoC, while in other ASEAN countries, the take-up rate is more than 60 per cent. From the 2 per cent, it can be said that 99 per cent of the certificates are owned by companies, not individuals. And even for certified individuals, the original certificates are usually held by the companies that subsidised their certification. That’s what we want to overcome because it has become a dilemma in Indonesia. Meanwhile, other relevant parties, including the government, have not been very supportive of this programme.
I feel that all parties should encourage and make efforts for technical workers from Indonesia, especially those in the construction industry, to obtain a CoC, by facilitating, accelerating and making it affordable. The government or state-owned enterprises (BUMN, Badan Usaha Milik Negara) should support this effort by offering tax incentives.
Another challenge PIPI faces is heavy competition. Now, there are 60 associations under the Construction Services Development Agency (LPJK, Lembaga Pengembangan Jasa Konstruksi). Many association’s branches have closed down due to lack of CoC, as well lack of funding, donations or training.
What are PIPI’s plans for 2018?
In 2018, we will work with several parties, including the Japan Management Association, which has more than 365,000 members in managerial, directorial and CEO levels in Japan. We will hold international exhibitions, seminars and conferences in various fields, including the construction and engineering sectors, both in Indonesia and abroad.
In your opinion, what are the industry developmental trends in Indonesia so far?
Architectural trends and development in Indonesia have been quite good. In reality, though, the designs are still clichéd. Indonesia does not really have a distinctive or iconic building that can be the pride of a city, or even country. Our high-rise architecture remains glued to a box shape, unlike the iconic buildings that have become national landmarks in other countries, such as the Burj Al Arab, Marina Bay Sands, Petronas Twin Towers, and others.
Therein lies the challenge for architecture in Indonesia. While the cost would be more expensive, implementation will not be a problem because now with the forming system, there are no longer constraints of form and structure.
What about construction development, especially in 2017?
From my perspective, construction development in Indonesia in 2017 was not as active because almost 80 per cent of the industry was concentrating on infrastructure. These were mainly by state-owned enterprises, with sub-contractors also from state-owned enterprises. As a result, the private sector did not get much opportunity for projects. I hope that in 2018, the government will also invite the private sectors, both national and international, to participate in such projects so that development will be more evenly distributed.
What is your industry forecast for 2018?
I believe the construction development industry in our country will be better in 2018 because the government will launch the labour intensive programme. In addition, there will be major projects in the field of oil, gas and energy. From what I know, there are partnerships between Indonesia and China for the development of high-speed rail from Jakarta to Bandung; between Indonesia and Saudi Arabia for the development of two oil refineries; and between Indonesia and Japan and also South Korea for the construction of various industries. These make me optimistic for 2018, and hopefully, they will be realised smoothly.
How important is the infrastructure sector you have mentioned?
The infrastructure industry should be the number one priority for the country. Years ago, China built wide and integrated roads even though there were still very few vehicles using them. Now, we know how China’s infrastructure can support their industry and economy in a massive way. So far, Indonesia only thinks of the future in the short term—only about five years—compared with China, which thinks 25 to 50 years into the future.
Indonesia is a bit too late in realising infrastructure development. Compared to Singapore, Malaysia or Thailand, we are already behind. Therefore, the current government policy to boost infrastructure as a top priority must be fully supported.
Are there technological breakthroughs that can help Indonesia catch up on infrastructure development?
PIPI was involved in the support of future infrastructure development by initiating trenchless technology, a system of subsurface construction work that will support the construction and civil engineering industry. We held the country’s first-ever trenchless technology exhibitions and seminars in August 2017 in Jakarta. We will hold a similar event in April 2018.
We support this technology because underground infrastructure in Indonesia is still very minimally applied. Hopefully in the future, underground infrastructure in Indonesia is not only used for the transportation sector but can be expanded to other areas, such as telephone, electricity, pipeline, etc. so that the city and region management in Indonesia can focus on long-term targets, 25 to 50 years into the future.
What do you hope to see in the future?
I personally expect to see nuclear power plants built in Indonesia, producing at least 6,000 megawatts. Moreover, I expect Indonesia to build two oil refineries with a scale of 300,000 barrels per day. Of course, infrastructure development should continue to be accelerated to support all kinds of vital activities in Indonesia.
Why nuclear power plants?
If you look at the world, developed countries such as the United States, Europe, Japan, China and South Korea have been harnessing nuclear power. In fact, 70 per cent of France’s energy is facilitated by nuclear power. Nuclear power will reduce our dependence on oil and gas.
Currently, Indonesia purchases IDR1.5 to 1.8 trillion worth of gasoline per day. If this nuclear power plant is realised, I expect Indonesia will have an additional 30,000 megawatts by 2025 or 2030. I believe this is something our nation should aspire to, even though resistance to nuclear power plants will no doubt be immense.