JAKARTA: Indonesian President Joko Widodo has decided to move the capital of Southeast Asia's largest economy away from the crowded main island of Java, the planning minister said on Monday.
"The president chose to relocate the capital city to outside of Java, an important decision," Minister Bambang Brodjonegoro told a news conference after a cabinet meeting, adding that the administration had yet to pick a new location.
He said moving the capital from the coastal city of Jakarta, on the north coast of Java, could take up to 10 years, citing examples such as Brazil, Malaysia and Kazakhstan, according to Reuters.
Meanwhile, Bloomberg reported President Joko Widodo wants its citizens to have a say in picking the new location.
Widodo, known as Jokowi, sought suggestions from the public about the new capital on his Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts on Tuesday, drawing thousands of responses from netizens within an hour of the posts.
“Jakarta now bears two burdens at the same time: as the center of government and public services, as well as a business center. Many countries have moved their capitals, while we are just floating it as an idea in each presidential era. In your opinion, where should the capital of Indonesia be located?,” Jokowi wrote in Bahasa on his Twitter account to 11.3 million followers.
Jokowi ordered his cabinet on Monday to start work on relocating the capital outside of Java island that houses more than 60 percent of the country’s 264 million population as he seeks to ensure economic development of the country’s far-flung islands.
While moving Indonesia’s administrative center has been discussed periodically for decades, there is now a sense of urgency as Jakarta fast approaches total gridlock.
Several social media users pitched Central and East Kalimantan as the location best suited for the new capital, while another Twitter user rooted for building a modern, eco-friendly capital modeled on examples from the Netherlands, Japan and New Zealand.
While the government has yet to zero in on any specific location, Palangkaraya in Central Kalimantan province has been mentioned as a possible site.
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