Incumbent president Joko Widodo has announced his intentions to relocate the capital of Indonesia away from Jakarta.
The city has been the political and business capital since independence in 1949, but is sinking and suffers from congestion and pollution.
Speaking after a cabinet meeting, Minister of National Development and Planning, Bambang Brodjonegoro, said, “The president chose to relocate the capital city to outside of Java, an important decision.” He compared the move to when Malaysia moved the administrative capital from Kuala Lumpur to Putrajaya and Kazakhstan relocated their capital from Almaty to the new city of Astana.
The decision comes following election pledges to spread economic growth across the nation, at the moment prosperity is centred on Java. However, Brodjonegoro estimates that the economy loses around Rp 100 trillion per year due to traffic congestion in Jakarta. He said that the island of Java was reaching its environmental capacity, there has been an increase in the conversion of agricultural land to housing developments.
No decision has yet been made about the new location of the capital city. “We want to think in a visionary way for the progress of this country and moving the capital requires thorough and detailed preparation,” he said. “I believe that, if we prepare well from the start of the process, then, God willing, we will be able to bring this big idea into being”. The move is estimated to take 10 years once the project begins.
The Finance Ministry has taken instructions form the president to come up with a scheme to finance the project that allows private investment to take place in the project too.
Some of the requirements outlined as necessary for the new city are: to be geographically central to Indonesia; have a lot of government or state enterprise owned land available; free from the threat of natural disasters such as fires, volcanoes, and earthquakes; have 30,000 to 40,000 hectares of available land; an existing sea and airport; and accessible clean water.
With these requirements, Kalimantan and Sulawesi are touted as the possible new locations for the capital of Indonesia. It was reported earlier this year that authorities in Palangkaraya in Central Kalimantan had prepared 300,000 hectares of land in case it is chosen as a new government hub.
Jakarta is sinking at a rate of 7cm per year due to the extraction of ground water, necessary to supply the 10 million plus population of the city. Investing in congestion-easing projects such as public transport and road widening is expensive due to the high cost of land in Jakarta. In a report commissioned by Greenpeace and AirVisual IQ in March this year, the current capital was ranked the worst for air pollution in South East Asia.
Source: Sydney Morning Herald