Jokowi: Indonesia’s new capital near Samarinda City and Balikpapan

Indonesian president Joko Widodo. (Picture taken from Jokowi's social media page).

KUCHING, Aug 26: Indonesian President Joko Widodo has announced that Indonesia’s capital will be relocated to East Kalimantan near Samarinda City and Balikpapan port city, known for its coal and oil shipment.

According to Reuters, Widodo, fondly known as Jokowi, told a press conference in Jakarta earlier today that it was urgent that relocation plans commenced, although the capital would not physically begin to be relocated until 2024.

“It is a strategic location at the centre of Indonesia, close to growing urban area,” he was reported to have said.

Jokowi said moving the capital would cost about 466 trillion Rupiah (RM138.6 billion) of which the government would fund 19 per cent, with the rest from public-private partnerships and private investment.

The price tag includes new government offices and homes for about 1.5 million civil servants.

The president had earlier this month proposed to parliament to move the country’s administrative centre to Kalimantan, the Indonesian side of Borneo island, a region known for rainforests, coal mines, orangutans and home to just over 16 million people.

Indonesia’s current capital Jakarta is one of the world’s most densely populated cities, home to more than 10 million people and three times that number when counting those who live in surrounding towns.

The city is prone to floods and is sinking due to subsidence, caused by millions of residents using up groundwater.

Jokowi said the burden on Jakarta and Java island was already too heavy, with the island home to 54 per cent of the 260 million population and generating 58 per cent of Indonesia’s gross domestic product.

The government will submit a bill, and the result of a feasibility study, to parliament soon to obtain approval for the new capital, he was quoted saying.

Indonesia Planning Minister Bambang Brodjonegoro said land acquisition would start in 2020. — DayakDaily