Move over, Jakarta: Jokowi wants East Kalimantan to be Indonesia’s new capital

A typical day of traffic jams in Jakarta, the current capital of Indonesia.
Reuters

Heard of Jakarta’s notorious traffic jams where average vehicle speed is 17km/h, and people spend an average of 22 days a year stuck in traffic?

This may not be the case for much longer, if all goes according to Indonesian president Joko Widodo’s plan.

President Joko Widodo (or Jokowi) said on Monday (August 26) that he has chosen to move the nation’s capital from Jakarta to East Kalimantan to help ease the congestion problem on Java island.

Citing the President, Jakarta Post said the new capital will be built in the North Penajam Paser and Kutai Kertanegara regencies, which are near Balikpapan – about two hours away from Jakarta by flight.

The new capital will reportedly be built in the North Penajam Paser and Kutai Kertanegara regencies, which are near Balikpapan – about two hours away from Jakarta by flight.
Google Maps

“Jakarta has received overwhelming burdens as the centre of administration, business, finance, trade and services, as well as (housing) the country’s largest airport and seaport,” The Straits Times quoted him as saying.

According to him, there are now around 150 million people on Java island – 54 per cent of Indonesia’s entire population. The population of Jakarta alone is currently over 10.5 million, and is expected to hit more than 12.6 million by 2030, the United Nations said in a report.

If passed by Parliament, Jakarta will no longer be Indonesia’s administrative capital. It will, however, remain the business and economic capital, similar to how Kuala Lumpur is the capital of Malaysia while Putrajaya acts as the administrative centre.

In a report, the Nikkei Asian Review said the chosen districts are in a forested area owned by the government. There, earthquakes, flooding and volcanic eruptions are less common, the news website reported.

One million people are expected to make the move along with the capital.

The move will be costly, estimated at 466 trillion rupiah (US$32.7 billion), but the government is planning to cover just 10 per cent of that. The rest of the cost will ideally be covered by public-private partnerships, Nikkei Asian Review reported.
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