President Joko Widodo said yesterday that it was urgent that relocation plans commence, although the capital would not physically begin to be relocated until 2024.
The new capital, which does not yet have a name, would be located in Borneo’s East Kalimantan province, near the existing Samarinda City and the port city of Balikpapan, important for coal and oil shipments.
“It is a strategic location at the centre of Indonesia, close to a growing urban area,” Joko told a news conference at the Jakarta state palace.He said moving the capital would cost 466 trillion rupiah (RM137bil), of which the state would fund 19%, with the rest from public-private partnerships and private investment. The price tag includes new government offices and homes for about 1.5 million civil servants.
The president had earlier this month proposed to parliament to move the country’s administrative centre to Kalimantan, the Indonesian side of Borneo island, a region known for rainforests, coal mines, orangutans and home to just over 16 million people.
Environmentalist groups, however, have expressed fears that building a new capital amid swaths of forests in Borneo could imperil the habitats of endangered wildlife.
The jungle island is home to various endangered species, including orangutans, sun bears and long-nosed monkeys.
Jakarta is one of the world’s most densely populated cities, home to more than 10 million people and thrice that number when counting those living in surrounding towns.
The city is prone to floods and is sinking due to subsidence caused by millions of residents using up groundwater.
Joko said the burden on Jakarta and Java island was already too heavy, with the island home to 54% of the 260 million population and generating 58% of Indonesia’s gross domestic product.
The government would submit a Bill and the result of a feasibility study to parliament soon to obtain approval for the new capital, he added.
Planning Minister Bambang Brodjonegoro said land acquisition would start next year.Indonesia is not the first South-East Asian country to move its capital. In 2005, Myanmar’s ruling generals moved to Naypyidaw, a town in hills some 320km away from the colonial era capital, Yangon.
In the 1990s, Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad built an administrative capital in Putrajaya, about 33km from Kuala Lumpur. — Reuters
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