Indonesian President Joko Widodo has announced via a televised speech a decision to move the nation’s capital city to the island of Borneo. Jakarta, the present capital inherited from Dutch colonial times, has been increasingly polluted and overcrowded, with experts warning of rising sea levels threatening to submerge the city by 2050.
Jakarta is also exposed to “too heavy” a burden of being “centre of governance, business, finance, trade and services.”
With 15,000 people per square kilometre, the city is twice as dense as the neighbouring land-scarce island nation Singapore. This leads to some of the worst traffic conditions in the world, leading to a persistent drain of about US$7b annual in economic capacity in the nation’s financial hub.
The new capital, which will commence construction in 2021, is expected to cost IDR 466 trillion (USD 32.7b, SGD 45.4b). Located between North Penajam Paser and Kutai Kartanegara in the East Kalimantan state of Indonesia, the new capital will be located a massive 1,400km from Jakarta.
“Why does the capital city have to move? Jakarta currently has a burden that is too heavy as the centre of government, business centre, financial centre, trade centre, and service centre. In fact, it is the location of the largest airport and seaport in Indonesia. Traffic congestion that is already severe, air and water pollution of this city must be addressed immediately. This is not the fault of the DKI Jakarta Provincial Government. No. This is because of the large burden placed on the Indonesian economy on Java and Jakarta. Economic disparities between Java and outside Java continue to increase, although since 2001 regional autonomy has been carried out. In addition, the burden of Java is also getting heavier. The population is 150 million or 54 per cent of the total population of Indonesia, and 58 per cent of Indonesia’s economic GDP is in Java. We cannot continue to let the burden of Jakarta and the burden of the island of Java be heavier.”President Joko Widodo
This move comes as no surprise with the Indonesian premiere indicating this sentiment since back in April, where he tweeted that previous Indonesian presidents had only “made ideas”, whereas other countries have actually managed to move capital cities. In that tweet, he asked his followers for their opinions with regard to location.