Wenny Zulianti

Wenny Zulianti

The organizing committee of Tour de Siak international cycling race and sports tourism event decided to cancel the third stage after 20 kilometers into the event owing to thick haze in the region on Saturday.

"Owing to the condition, I have taken this decision prior to a doctor's warning. The best step is to stop this race," Sondi Sampurno, director of Tour de Siak, stated here on Saturday.

A total of 54 cyclists grouped in 11 teams began the race from Siak Palace but on reaching Tambak Rejo Village, the organizing committee declared that the race was halted.

The organizing committee had earlier held discussions over the condition of the field with the Indonesian Cycling Federation (PB ISSIS). Later, they waved a red flag, and the cyclists turned back.

They planned to hold a meeting to discuss whether the fourth stage will be held as scheduled on Sunday.

"The third stage of the race will not be repeated. Tonight, we will hold a meeting with the district head. If the weather remains like this, it will not be continued," he noted.

"When such a thing happens, it is out of our control. The forest fires do not occur in this district, but the haze reaches here. We can do nothing. In fact, yesterday, the air was clear, so we wanted to start early, but the reality is like this," he remarked.

Nur Aminrul Fachruddin Mazuki of the Trengganu Cycling Team from Malaysia emerged as the winner in the first stage. Reno Yudha Sansaka from the Indonesian National Team won the second stage, but the yellow jacket remains with Malaysia's cyclist.

Last Thursday, Riau Governor Syamsuar had lent support to holding Tour de Siak despite haze emanating from forest fires in the province blanketing Siak District.

Haze in Siak was not as thick as that in Pelalawan District, the governor informed Antara while monitoring fire-fighting efforts in Pangkalan Kerinci, Pelalawan, on Thursday evening.

"Siak is different from here (Pelalawan). In Siak, it is bright," he pointed out.

"The team of PB ISSI has informed me following a technical meeting with foreign teams that they have no objection if the race were to continue," he stated.

Safety tops the concerns of the United Cycling International and PB ISSI, as foreign cyclists are participating in Tour de Siak on September 19-22, 2019.

During the first stage covering the Siak-Mempura-Dayun Siak route and stretching 60 kilometers in length on Thursday (Sept 19), Indonesian and foreign cyclists wore face masks to protect themselves from the haze shrouding the district.  

Editor: Rahmad Nasution


A numbers of 2,890 people broke Indonesian World Records for the biggest Tari Piring performance, a traditional dance which dancers carrying a couple of plates on their palms, in Padang Aro, South Solok, West Sumatra, on Sunday.

The dancers -- all women -- are students, policewomen, wives of police and army personnel, who donned themselves with their uniform and traditional Minangkabau hat called tikuluak tanduak, which looks like bull's horn.

"The committee claimed that this is a national records, but we are sure that this performance was broken the world records since Tapi Piring is a traditional dance that owned by West Sumatrans only," Senior Manager of the Indonesian World Records Museum (MURI), Triyono, stated.

The record could also be considered as an effort of preserving cultural heritage by mainly the millennial generation.

The MURI certificate was handed over  by Triyono to Chief of West Sumatera Provincial Police Inspector General Fakhrizal, accompanied by Chief of Solok Selatan Police Imam Yulisdianto.

Fakhrizal remarked that gathering almost three thousand people was not an easy task, but he said he would like to see such event could be held again.

"This performance will not end here as I am ready to support the same event next time," Fakhrizal said.

Mayor of Solok Selatan Muzni Zakaria said he would support the mass Tari Piring performance to be held annually.


Most of the electronic stores in Pekanbaru, Riau Province, have been running out of air purifier in the last two weeks, following a massive buying by local households in a bid to filter the air that polluted by land and forest fires smog.

"I went to five electronic stores yet did not find any air purifier available," Wati, a resident of Pekanbaru, said on Sunday.

When there was any left air purifiers, they were too expensive, Wati continued.

Some shopkeepers had asked Wati to leave her phone number for they could notify her later when they restock the air purifier.

"But there is no any call from them until now," she said.

Kokoh, an electronic store's owner, claimed that normally he only stock two air purifiers in one year because it was not salable goods. But now, amid the unhealthy smog, people tend to look for it.

The small size air purifier for a 21-square meter room is used to be priced for about Rp1.5 million (around US$110) per unit, but after the smog worsened it could be reached Rp2.7 to Rp3.5 million (US$190 to US$246).

Due to such high demand, Kokoh said he need to order air purifiers directly from Jakarta and they need to be delivered by airplane to cut the shipping time. But each store could only purchase two units per order.

The air pollutant standard index (ISPU) PM10 in Pekanbaru is still 300 that indicates unhealthy air still persisted. Following such air condition, school activities had been stopped for two weeks and pregnant civil servants were allowed to work from home. 

While receiving Indonesian Parliament’s several members in Port Moresby last week, Papua New Guinean (PNG) Foreign Minister Soroi Marrepo minced no words in declaring that PNG consistently recognizes Indonesia's sovereignty over Papua and West Papua.

"The PNG foreign minister has obviously conveyed his government's political stance," Deputy Chairman of the House of Representatives (DPR) Commission I overseeing Defense and Foreign Affairs Setya Widya Yudha noted in a press statement here on Monday.

At a meeting with the House's Commission I delegation members at the foreign ministry office in Port Moresby last week, Marrepo firmly echoed his view of the PNG Government consistently supporting Indonesia's sovereignty over the two provinces, he remarked.

Indonesia's delegation constituted Evita Nursanyanti, representing the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDIP) Faction, and Sukamta from the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) Faction, as well as Indonesian Ambassador to PNG Andriana Supandi.

At the meeting, Foreign Minister Marrepo was accompanied by his ministry's secretary, Barbara Agirigolo Age.

He was quoted by Yudha as saying that a recent rally staged by a group of people in Port Moresby to call for a referendum for the people of the provinces of Papua and West Papua did not represent the PNG government's official political stance.

However, Indonesia is expected to find a wise and peaceful way out to placate the recent violent protests that native Papuans in the two provinces staged over the alleged racist slurs against the Papuan students in Surabaya, East Java, on August 16, 2019.

According to ANTARA, the PNG government's recognition of Indonesia's sovereignty over Papua and West Papua is also shared by Australia as outlined in the Lombok Treaty of 2006.

The talks between Foreign Minister Marrepo and the Indonesian delegation members did not solely focus on Papua issues but also on ways to continue to strengthen bilateral multisectoral cooperation between Indonesia and PNG.

"Cooperation between the two countries in the fields of economy and culture must continuously be strengthened by, for instance, opening a direct flight connecting cities in the two countries. Inter-parliamentary cooperation is also needed," he stated.