Goodbye Jakarta? Indonesia's government announces plan to move capital

World Wednesday 01/May/2019 11:47 AM
By: Times News Service
Goodbye Jakarta? Indonesia's government announces plan to move capital

Kuala Lumpur: The Government of Indonesia is going ahead with a plan to move its capital city from Jakarta, according to senior officials.

"In a limited meeting, the president has decided to move the capital city out of Java," said Bambang Brodjonegoro, the country's planning minister and head of the National Development Planning Agency (Bappenas)

According to Brodjonegoro, three options were presented at the meeting. One involved moving the capital to an area close to Jakarata, while another looked into moving it out of the island of Java.

Jakarta is one of the largest cities in the world with a population of more than 9 million people. According state news media, 50 percent of Jakarta is prone to flooding. Up to 90 percent of water in city's rivers are polluted. Additionally, the city is also sinking with a subsidence rate at seven centimeters a year. During the 1989-2007 period, the soil level in Jakarta subsided by 60 centimeters.

Java, the island on which Jakarta is located, is where 57 percent of the country’s population lives. Moving the capital, many argue, would reduce pollution and de-centralise political and economic decision-making from Java.

"Hence, we want to have a new capital city. It should reflect Indonesia's identity and become a modern city of international class, or a smart, green and beautiful city," Brodjonegoro stated.

“The point is if it remains in Java Island, moreover, near Jakarta, it will not lessen the burden on Java Island and also not drive Indonesia-centric development, but rather solely strengthen Java Island."

The government is expected to need an estimated $33 billion to construct a new capital outside Java. According to state media, the decision would also result in the migration of around 1.5 million people including civil servants, military and police officers.

The country’s president, Joko Widodo, has said that moving the capital is key to Indonesia’s long-term interest.

"As a large nation, we should not merely think of short-term and narrow-scope interests but also broader interests for the benefit of the nation and state, as well as visionary interests in the face of global competition,” he said.

As to where the new capital might be located, no location has been designated yet.

"It could be in Sumatra, but it would be far from the eastern part of (Indonesia). Sulawesi is a little in the center, but quite far from the western part (of Indonesia). Kalimantan is in the middle.”

According to Brodjonegoro, after the new location is chose, the process to develop the new capital city will start in 2020 and take five-ten years to complete.