Sarawak to benefit if Kalimantan hosts Indonesia’s new capital

Abang Johari (squatting, centre) with Dr Rundi (right) and Sipol (left) 'ngiling tikai' ('rolling the mat') at the event.

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By Nigel Edgar

KUCHING, June 17: Sarawak stands to benefit economically if Indonesia implements its proposal to move its capital from Jakarta to Kalimantan, said Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.

The chief minister said the move, if it materialised, would add another revenue stream to the state in the form of selling clean hydroelectricity to its neighbour.

“I don’t know whether Indonesia will definitely position their capital to Kalimantan, but there’s talk about the new capital to be moved from Jakarta to Kalimantan, meaning it’s very close to us.

“If they need more electricity, we can work together with Indonesia. The potential is there, and we can have this KaliBorneo Grid initiative to work with. Definitely, with your expertise, your engineering talents and skills, I think we can work together with Indonesia, just like how we work with Brunei and Sabah,” he said at Sarawak Energy Berhad’s Gawai Raya 2019 gathering at its headquarters, here, today.

Sipol (second from left) handing over the mat to Abang Johari (fifth from left) as Juma’ani (Abang Johari’s left), Dr Abdul Rahman (left), Dr Rundi (third from left), Hamed (fourth from left), Sharbini (fourth right) and others look on.

Also present were Abang Johari’s wife, Datin Patinggi Datuk Amar Juma’ani Tun Tuanku Bujang, Sarawak Energy chairman Datuk Amar Abdul Hamed Sepawi, Group chief executive officer Datu Sharbini Suhaili, Sarawak Energy Gawai Raya 2019 Kitua Gawea (Ketua Gawai) Sipol Ambun, Minister of Utilities Dato Sri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom and Assistant Minister of Rural Electricity Datuk Dr Abdul Rahman Junaidi.

Last month, Indonesian President Jokowi Widodo mooted the idea of moving the republic’s capital from Jakarta to Kalimantan because of over-congestion. In addition, Jakarta is said to be sinking and getting more prone to flooding.

Jakarta’s population is about 30 million, while Palangkaraya, the capital of Central Kalimantan, has a population of about 260,000 only, and it is relatively free from natural disasters.

The idea of such a drastic move has been bandied about since the 1960s. — DayakDaily