Indonesia gears up to celebrate upcoming Independence Day in new capital city

Image from Jakarta Post/ANN.

JAKARTA (Xinhua): The month of August is festive to all citizens in Indonesia, as the South-East Asian nation celebrates its Independence Day on the 17th, with patriotic anthems heard in public places across the archipelagic country.

This year, the national Independence Day ceremony will be conducted simultaneously with President Joko Widodo celebrating in Nusantara, the new capital city located on Borneo Island in East Kalimantan province, while Vice President Ma'ruf Amin will attend the ceremony in Jakarta.

During the ceremony, the president, commonly referred to as Jokowi, is anticipated to formally inaugurate Nusantara as the new administrative center, while Jakarta will continue to be the nation's business and economic hub.

Jokowi recently said that the upcoming Independence Day celebration held in Nusantara is in line with the transfer of the capital city from Jakarta. Jokowi, who will end his term in October this year, will be accompanied by his successor Prabowo Subianto, the winner of the presidential election held in February this year.

Jokowi's eldest son Gibran Rakabuming Raka, who is vice president-elect, is scheduled to attend the ceremony led by Ma'ruf Amin in Jakarta.

The government is currently gearing up for the extraordinary celebration.

A limited meeting between Jokowi and several of his ministers was held early this week at the presidential palace in Jakarta to discuss the readiness of Nusantara to hold the ceremony of the upcoming Independence Day.

Ministers attending the meeting included Coordinating Minister for Human Development and Culture Muhadjir Effendy and Agrarian Affairs and Spatial Planning Minister Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono.

Muhadjir told reporters following the Monday meeting that various infrastructures intended for the upcoming celebration are now complete. He added that the airport in Nusantara is nearing readiness and is expected to be operational by the end of July.

The airport will enable visitors to fly directly to the new capital city, bypassing the need to fly to Balikpapan and continue their journey by road.

In the meeting, the government also discussed inviting some public figures and foreign ambassadors to attend the ceremony in Nusantara, Muhadjir said.

Jokowi has repeatedly visited Nusantara to directly inspect the progress of the construction of the multi-billion-dollar mega project.

The estimated cost of all projects, as already announced by the government, requires funds of at least 466 trillion Indonesian rupiahs (US$32 billion). The state only covers about one-fifth of the investment cost, while around 80 per cent of the total investment value is sought from public-private partnerships or investments.

Early this month, he paid a visit to observe the readiness of the venue that will be used for the Independence Day celebration. The venue is situated in the courtyard of the presidential palace that is still under construction. The president emphasized that the preparation for the ceremony in Nusantara was almost final without obstacles found on the ground.

He also said that the first phase of the infrastructure construction for the new capital had already reached 80 percent complete, expressing hope that he would move to Nusantara and start working from there in July. - Xinhua

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