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Kalimantan chosen as Indonesia’s new administrative HQ, says govt minister

SINGAPORE — Indonesia President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has decided to move his country’s capital city away from Jakarta to Kalimantan, the Indonesian portion of the island of Borneo.

Kalimantan chosen as Indonesia’s new administrative HQ, says govt minister

Vehicles move past the construction of a new rail line in central Jakarta. Indonesian President Joko Widodo been touring provinces in Kalimantan to survey possible locations for a new capital, The Jakarta Post reported.

 

SINGAPORE — Indonesia President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has decided to move his country’s capital city away from Jakarta to Kalimantan, the Indonesian portion of the island of Borneo.

The Jakarta Post reported on Tuesday (July 30) that Mr Widodo is planning to set up the country’s administrative headquarters in the resource-rich region.

In the report, National Development Planning Minister Bambang Brodjonegoro was quoted as saying to kompas.com that the new capital “will be in Kalimantan” and that “the province will be announced later”.

Mr Widodo had earlier toured provinces in Kalimantan to survey possible locations for a new capital.

The Jakarta Post stated that Mr Widodo’s administration aims to form a centre of government — similar to Washington, DC in the United States — in a new city, leaving Jakarta as the business, trade and financial hub similar to New York.

WHY THE MOVE

After the presidential election earlier in April, Mr Widodo said that the government would push ahead with the plan to relocate the capital city outside Java, because of the need to address overpopulation on the country’s most populous island and to ensure more equitable development.

Jakarta is home to more than 10 million people, but around three times as many people live in the surrounding towns, adding to the area's severe congestion.

At the time, Mr Brodjonegoro put the annual economic loss due to traffic congestion in Jakarta at 100 trillion rupiah (S$9.65 billion).

The low-lying capital is also prone to flooding and is sinking due to over-extraction of groundwater.

Experts said that the northern part of the city has sunk 2.5m in the last 10 years and the city will go underwater by 2050.

THREE SITES

The issue of capital relocation has been a recurring theme during Mr Widodo’s tenure.

It was talked about in 2015 before the idea quickly dissipated. Then the president revived the issue with renewed vigour in 2017 after visiting Palangkaraya, one of the sites on Indonesian Borneo.

Mr Widodo had inspected three possible sites on Indonesian Borneo: Bukit Soeharto in East Kalimantan, Bukit Nyuling in Central Kalimantan, and the Triangle Area in Palangkaraya, also in Central Kalimantan, which was specifically constructed in the late 1950s by President Sukarno to serve as a new capital city.

Of the three sites, two were found to be strategically located and less prone to natural disasters. 

Bukit Soeharto, a 61,580ha forest located in two regencies — Panajam Paser Utara and Kutai Kertanegara — is considered suitable for a new capital because it is strategically located near the midpoint of the toll road connecting Samarinda and Balikpapan, the two largest cities in Kalimantan, both of which also have airports.

The Triangle Area is located between Palangkaraya, Katingan regency and Gunung Mas regency, where a 300,000ha plot of land is available for development, and the area is known to be relatively free from natural disaster risks.

Mr Brodjonegoro told the Jakarta Post earlier this year that the location for the new capital city would be announced by the end of the year.

In the first phase, the new capital city is planned to accommodate 1.5 million residents, which include around 200,000 state officials as well as 25,000 police and military personnel.

The government would need roughly US$33 billion (S$45.2 billion) to build the new capital.

Related topics

Indonesia capital city Kalimantan Jakarta Jokowi

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