Indonesia’s capital shift is Sabah-Sarawak’s economic gain

Datuk Idris Buang

By Lian Cheng

KUCHING, Aug 10: Sabah and Sarawak will stand to benefit from massive economic gain when Indonesia relocates its capital from Jakarta to neighbouring Kalimantan.

Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) information chief Datuk Idris Buang expressed hope that the people will ready themselves to participate in the economic spin-offs and opportunities once the capital shift is realised within the next five years.

“The upscaling of demand by our neighbour is imminent with the shift of their capital to Kalimantan. It is not an overstatement to say that Sarawak and Sabah stand to gain in many ways, economically.

“Tourism and its many tiers, including medical and education tourism, will spiral in numbers in terms of revenue, as well as visitation statistics.

“Other goods and services will naturally be on demand too. Cross-border trade will surely increase in propensity between our regions in Borneo,” Idris told DayakDaily.

He hoped Sarawakians in particular, will equip themselves by harnessing their skills and professionalism to the best level.

“There will surely be new demands for better air transport and connectivity, bigger and better roads infrastructure, better internet connections, better inland port complexes, efficient border control and many more.

“I like to think positive and be optimistic about the impact it may have on Sarawak as an immediate neighbour,” said Idris.

On Tuesday (Aug 6) Jakarta Globe reported that the country will move its capital from Jakarta to Kalimantan by 2024 at the earliest, with Indonesian president Joko Widodo (Jokowi) expected to announce the final choice of location later this month.

The president was reported as saying that the three options are the provinces of Central Kalimantan, East Kalimantan and South Kalimantan.

“Whether it be Central, East, or South Kalimantan, it will be decided soon after a presentation of the details (of the viability studies).

“These are related to disaster risks, environmental capacity, economy, demography, sociopolitical conditions, security and all aspects that must be considered in detail, so the decision we take will be correct for our future vision,” Jokowi said.

Idris believed such move will make Kalimantan a new destination for investors, both within Indonesia, as well as from abroad.

“They will bring in their investment and development plans by the trillions of ringgit or maybe US dollars.

“I am sure cities like Pontianak and Balikpapan in no time, will transform into cosmopolitans, sprawling with digitally savvy and technologically intelligent systems in terms of public transport, as well as city-management in areas of public health, public amenities, waste disposal and many more.

“Indirectly, the prosperity these Kalimantan cities stand to gain may also bring good tidings for Sarawak and Sabah,” continued the Muara Tuang assemblyman.

In this regards, he said Sarawak will have many potential services to offer, in particular energy, wto power the new capital and other cosmopolitan cities of Kalimantan.

“Presently, they (Indonesia’s PLN) are getting approximately 230MW of power through a cross-border connection from Mambong to Bengkayang.

“We can foresee Sarawak offering much more than what we are offering to Kalimantan today. So we must get ready and be prepared for the new opportunities brought about by our neighbours,” said Idris. — DayakDaily