JAKARTA, KOMPAS.com - Blessed with natural and marine beauty with various coral reefs, schools of decorative fishes, tempting diving sites, and historical tourist facilities, North Maluku province is now prepared to host Sail Morotai 2012.
North Maluku Governor Thaib Armaiyn has expressed optimism that the international marine event would be realized, no matter an unfounded rumor that it would be canceled. Even the governor and Sail Morotai 2012 local committee chairman Muhadjir Albar will in the near future meet with President Yudhoyono in Jakarta to report the preparation for the event.
"We will soon meet with the president in Jakarta to report that we are prepared to host Sail Morotai 2012 but we are now still waiting for confirmation from the state secretariat," the governor said in Ternate recently.
It was President Yudhoyono who actually suggested that North Maluku stage an international marine event, namely Sail Morotai, because he was inspired with the success Indonesia scored by organizing Sail Banda 2010 in Maluku. The head of state made the suggestion when speaking at a ceremony in Ternate, North Maluku, marking the relocation of the province’s capital from Ternate to Sofifi on Halmahera island in August 2010.
"We have just organized Sail Banda, and in reality it attracted so many participants from many countries and developed the economy in Maluku. Therefore, I hope we can organize a Sail Morotai in North Maluku," the President said at the time.
President Yudhoyono on the occasion also threw his weigh behind the North Maluku provincial administration’s wish to turn Morotai Island into a special economic zone. Therefore the North Maluku governor said that when he met with the president, he would solicit funds from the central government for the improvement of various infrastructure in Morotai island.
Governor Thaib Armaiyn pointed out that North Maluku provincial and Morotai district governments have allocated funds from Regional Budget to fix a number infrastructure in Morotai district town of Daruba. Meanwhile, the event local committee chairman Muhadjir Albar said in Ternate on Saturday that Sail Morati 2012 would continue to be held in accordance with the originally planned schedule in spite of the rumors that it would be canceled.
"The rumors about the cancellation of the international marine event in Morotai are incorrect. The truth is that the event will be conducted as scheduled," Muhadjir said.
Therefore he called on the local community and all related parties in North Maluku to ignore the misleading issues and continued to make various preparations for Sail Morotai 2012. According to him, Sail Morotai was part of central government’s program, and therefore it was ready to allocate oter funds for various infrastructure improvements in Morotai.
Muhadjir said North Maluku provincial and Morotai district governments have since 2010 allocated a big amount of funds for the improvement of infrastructure in the district. The funds were spent on road widening and rehabilitation of local people houses for home stay.
"The Sail Morotai supporting infrastructure will be completed before the international marine event in 2012," said the event’s local committee chairman.
He noted that the event would be of a great importance for North Maluku to promote its tourism and investment potential, especially in the field of fisheries, mining, and plantation. Muhadjir said Governor Thaib Armaiyn has since 2010 promoted Sail Morotai 2012 both at home and abroad, namely in Taiwan and South Korea.
During his visit to South Korea in September 2010, Governor Thaib Armaiyn also promoted the international maritime and yachting event in the country. According to Acting Head of Morotai district, Sukemi Sahab, the governor during his visit promoted Sail Morotai 2012 to South Korean community members.
The North Maluku governor visited South Korea to join the Investment National Coordinating Board’s investment promotion mission, in addition to introducing Sail Morotai to South Koreans. Sukemi Sahab said that for North Maluku, the Sail Morotai was a meaningful and strategic international event because it would put the province on to the world’s tourism and investment maps.
The arrival of foreign tourists and sailors for the Sail Morotai events would introduce the greatness of North Maluku province’s tourism and investment potentials, he said. "For the Morotai Island district, Sail Morotai will positively contribute to tourism, investment, and infrastructure construction," Sukemi said.
In addition, North Maluku provincial administration spokesman Umar Hasan has said in Ternate that broken bridges and roads in Morotai have been mended. Divers accommodations in the form of hostels and procurement of diving equipment have also been made available in a bid to make the international marine event of Sail Morotai a success.
Umar said the local government would also build three docks in Morotai district for the upcoming Sail Morotai 2012. "We will focus on the construction of three docks in Morotai because the new district is located in a border area where Sail Morotai will take place in 2012," Umar Hasan said.
According to him, the new district of Morotai got a special attention from central government. Umar said the construction of three docks in Morotai would receive funds amounting Rp2.1 billion from 2011 regional budget, and also from state budget, focused on supporting the public activity through sea transportation.
The docks will be located at the shipping route of the participants of Sail Morotai from foreign countries. Other supporting infrastructures at Morotai district would be improved for the success of the international marine event.
"Therefore the local government will build three docks namely in Dodola, Posi-Posi, and Bere-Bere," Umar said, adding that the three locations were strategic and representative for the Sail Indonesian participants to visit Morotai.
In addition, he said the docks would be used to support the international marine event of Sail Morotai 2012 and to step up the local community’s economy and welfare.