Before losing Jakarta’s 2017 gubernatorial election and being jailed for blasphemy, the former governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama (Ahok) declared the holy tomb of Mbah Priok an international centre of religious pilgrimage. (On Mbah Priok’s tomb see Bandit Saints of Java chapter 6.)
Ahok inaugurates Mbah Priok memorial site
The Jakarta Post, March 5, 2017
Jakarta adds another site to its long list of cultural heritage sites across the city as Mbah Priok memorial site in Tanjung Priok, North Jakarta, was inaugurated as a cultural heritage site by the city’s governor on Saturday.
The memorial site once held the grave of Islamic figure Mbah Priok who was venerated for his efforts to disseminate the religion of Islam during Dutch rule. Several disputes happened in the past between the heirs of Mbah Priok and state port operator Pelindo II when the operators intended to demolish the site for the expansion of Tanjung Priok port.
Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama signed an inscription, which read that Mbak Priok memorial site would be protected and treated as a cultural heritage site. Ahok added that the administration would turn the site into a religious attraction.
“According to the Islamic leaders here, up to 15,000 pilgrims visit the site every week. That indicates huge potential for tourism,” Ahok said.
The administration plans to build supporting facilities, such as a cafeteria and mosque. However, the plan was still in the early discussion phase and would need further preparation from the administration.
The inauguration took place just several days before Ahok was scheduled to take another campaign leave ahead of the second round of the city’s gubernatorial election. However, Jakarta General Elections Commission (KPU Jakarta) has yet to announce the exact date of the campaign period. Previous reports stated it would start on March 7.