JAKARTA, Jan. 20 (Asia Free Press): Indonesian lawmakers passed a law on relocating the nation’s capital from Jakarta, the most populated island of Java, to Nusantara, the island of Kalimantan, which the country shares borders with Malaysia and Brunei, local media reported.
Some former presidents have floated ideas of relocating the capital city in the past, but it is the most ambitious project initiated by the country’s current President, Joko Widodo, widely known as Jokowi, reported Xinhua.
President Jokowi, three years ago, vowed to relocate the capital city to the province of East Kalimantan due to several issues, including high population density and land subsidence in Jakarta, home to more than 10 million people.
Nusantara, which the new capital is called, will be built in two districts in East Kalimantan–Penajam Paser Utara and Kutai Kartanegara. It is set to occupy about 256,000 hectares of land.
The name of Nusantara, which can be translated as an archipelago in English, was chosen by President Jokowi, Minister for National Development Planning Suharso Monoarfa.
“The national capital has a central function and serves as a symbol of a country to show the identity of the nation and state,” Minister Monoarfa explained during a meeting with lawmakers at the House of Representatives building.
The construction project’s ground-breaking, slated to cost 32 billion U.S. dollars, was initially expected to be conducted in August 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic has forced the government to put it on hold.
Public-private partnerships will carry out some of the projects on the construction of the new capital, and the early stage of the relocation will begin this year and is expected to end in 2024.
The government will build a presidential palace, parliament buildings, and a housing complex in the primary zone. The move of civil servants at the early stage must be completed before Aug. 16, 2024.
Nusantara will serve as the centre of government, while Jakarta will remain Indonesia’s business and economic centre, the world’s fourth most populous country and Southeast Asia’s biggest economy.