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Indonesian rail project a big test for Wika's survival

Wijaya Karya is a member of the consortium building Indonesia's first mass rapid transit network in Jakarta. (Photo by Erwida Maulia)

JAKARTA -- On the morning of Jan. 21, a bright-red excavator dug its claws into a patch of earth in the western outskirts of Bandung as Indonesia's president, Joko Widodo, looked on with a smile. He was witnessing the launch of the country's first high-speed railway, which will connect Jakarta to the mountainous city.

     Another president -- albeit of a company not a country -- was also in attendance. But Bintang Perbowo, head of state-owned contractor Wijaya Karya, or Wika, may have been watching things unfold with a little more anxiety than the politician. After all, his career may be riding on the project.

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