Thursday, September 17, 2009

Jakarta Mudik Day

Lately, the media was filled with current news about going home from Jakarta to the upcountry. This custom is as if it had become part of the celebration of the Muslim holy Indonesia, Idul Fitri. Actually, not really. This phenomenon is both interesting and ironical. It is interesting because the wave forth in the millions occur only in a few countries such as Pakistan (in Idul Fitri), China (in Imlek celebration) or India (in one of Hindu's holyday). Even in Saudi Arabia, which is the origin of the Islamic religion, which celebrates Idul Fitri as a holyday; this tradition coming home did not come forth.

The tradition is uproar, however, due to this tradition; the velocity of money in the region could increase 30-40% from normal turnover. In fact, there are 40 billion rupiah of all workers sent to all over Indonesia during Lebaran this approach. What is this phenomenon?

Like many big cities in developing countries, Jakarta suffers from major urbanization challenges. The overall population of Jakarta increased 100 times in the 20th century, from about 100,000 in 1900 to more than 9 million in 1995. Most of the population was added in the last twenty years of the 20th century.The population has risen sharply from 1.2 million in 1960 to 8.8 million in 2004, counting only its legal residents. The population of greater Jakarta is estimated at 23 million, making it the second largest urban area in the world. However, the total population of Jakarta has decreased in the last five years of the last decade. It dropped from 9,112,652 in 1995 as recorded by the 1995 National Intercensal Population Survey to 8,389,443 in 2000 according to the 2000 National Population Census.

The decrease of Jakarta’s population in 1995-2000 was caused by the suburbanization. The periphery of Jakarta –commonly known as Botadebek- has experienced a drastic increase in population. The population of Botadebek has tripled from 4.4 million in 1980 to 12.6 million in 2000, while Jakarta’s population increased by only 30 percent. Some studies revealed that many moderate and high-income families moved out from the central city to the peripheral areas. They were attracted by high quality amenities provided by suburban enclave housing. In addition, the poor native Jakarta was relocated to the fringe areas because of the expansion of formal sector in the central city.

The rapid population growth has outgrown the government's ability to provide basic needs for its residents. As the third biggest economy in Indonesia, Jakarta has attracted a large number of visitors. The population during weekdays is almost double that of weekends, due to the influx of residents residing in other areas of Jabodetabek. Because of government's inability to provide adequate transportation for its large population, Jakarta also suffers from severe traffic jams that occur almost every day. Air pollution and waste management are also severe problems. By 2025, the population of Jakarta may reach 24.9 million, not counting millions more in surrounding areas.

I think this mudik phenomenon will not fade in Jakarta. In addition, in the future handling of million people who having journey to their hometown will more difficult. I do not know when this phenomenon will end.