Did Depok’s mayor commission a billboard thanking himself for construction of underpass?

A billboard thanking Depok Mayor Mohammad Idris for the construction of an underpass. Photo: Video screengrab
A billboard thanking Depok Mayor Mohammad Idris for the construction of an underpass. Photo: Video screengrab

As one of Depok’s main roads, traffic jams have long been an issue on Jalan Dewi Sartika. The construction of an underpass to reduce traffic density and bypass a railway crossing has been met with immense gratitude from the city’s residents, so much so that they put up a billboard thanking Mayor Mohammad Idris.

At least, that’s what it appears like at first. The ridicule the billboard has received online suggests that somebody else, perhaps the mayor himself or his administration, put it up.

As we can see in the footage below, the billboard is located near the underpass, which was inaugurated on Jan. 17. The message reads, “We the citizens of Depok express our gratitude to the mayor of Depok for the construction of the Dewi Sartika underpass.”

It’s hard to make out in the video, but the billboard also contains the sigil for the city of Depok, which suggests that it was commissioned — or at least sanctioned — by the administration.

Netizens who say they’re from Depok certainly aren’t claiming that they ordered the billboard nor do they support its message.

“Did the mayor pay for this? Or did it come out from the state budget, funded by taxpayers’ money? Depok is too much. I want to get angry but this is too funny,” one commenter wrote.

“He said thank you to himself,” another wrote.

Depok resident Icuk Pramana Putra, who is the deputy chair of the Indonesian Solidarity Party (PSI) in the city, posted this scathing and sarcasm-filled criticism on TikTok.

@icukpramanaputra Alhamdulilah satu masalah selesai.. seribu masalah masalah masih menanti.. ayo warga depok tetap semangat.. terima kasih kang @KANG EMIL 🙏🏻 #depok #underpass #dewisartika #pemkot #walkot #depokmemangbeda #mauherantapidepok #indonesia ♬ Mantul Mantap Betul – Jeremya Ginting

“Maybe only the mayor worked [on the underpass]. Not his deputy. Not PUPR (the Ministry of Public Works and Housing). Only the mayor is extraordinary. He’s building Depok on his own,” Icuk said.

As of this article’s publication, no one has definitively claimed to be behind the billboard.

It’s also quite telling of officials’ thirst for adoration for basically doing their job that they held an inauguration event for the underpass, which was attended by West Java Governor Ridwan Kamil. In fact, Ridwan’s bust was featured in a mural in the underpass, alongside national hero Raden Dewi Sartika, after whom the road was named.

The underpass was jointly funded by the Depok City Administration, who spent IDR189 billion (US$12.5 million) on land procurement, and the West Java Provincial Government, who spent IDR108.6 billion (US$7.2 million) on the construction.

What is a few extra millions of rupiah for a billboard and a mural, right?



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