Indonesia’s capital is sinking, polluted and crowded. Its leader wants to build a new one.
JAKARTA — Jakarta, the Indonesian capital, is the city that people love to hate. With a population of about 10 million, Jakarta is steadily sinking.
JAKARTA — Jakarta, the Indonesian capital, is the city that people love to hate.
With a population of about 10 million, Jakarta is steadily sinking. Its traffic is legendary. Its air quality ranks among the world’s worst. It has few parks or cultural monuments. Even walking on its sidewalks is a hazardous exercise.
Indonesia’s president, Mr Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, announced Monday (Aug 26) a plan to fix the capital: Start from scratch. He has proposed stripping Jakarta of its status as the country’s capital and building a new capital on the island of Borneo.
Under his plan, political figures and government workers would desert the sinking city on the island of Java and relocate to one of the country’s less crowded islands, Borneo — famous for threatened orangutans and dense jungles that are giving way to palm oil plantations.
On Monday, Mr Widodo said the new capital would be built in the province of East Kalimantan near the coastal cities of Balikpapan and Samarinda where the government already owns about 440,000 acres.
“The government has conducted in-depth studies, and we have intensified the studies in the past three years,” the president told reporters. “The result of those studies shows that the most ideal location for the new capital is part of North Penajam Paser Regency and part of Kutai Kartanegara Regency in East Kalimantan.”
The project is estimated to cost about US$33 billion. Mr Widodo said 19 per cent would be paid for from the state budget with other funding to come from private investment and public-private partnerships.
Building a new capital would require the construction of a new presidential residence, ministry buildings, housing for government workers and highways. Construction could begin as early as 2021.
The target to begin moving to the new capital is 2024, just as Mr Widodo’s second and final term will be ending.
The president said he was not abandoning Jakarta, which is also the country’s financial capital.
“Jakarta will remain as the priority in development and will continue to be developed as a business city, financial city, trade center and service center on a regional and global scale,” the president said. THE NEW YORK TIMES