Jakarta will no longer be the capital of Indonesia
by Mathias Hariyadi

The government has yet to find a new location. President Widodo’s decision is designed to encourage economic development outside of Java, in other regions of the country. Moving the capital may take up to ten years. According to some reports, the choice is likely to be a city in Kalimantan (Borneo).

Jakarta (AsiaNews) – After years of deliberations and analyses, Indonesian President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo (pictured) announced today that Jakarta will no longer be the capital of Indonesia.

National Development Planning Minister Bambang Brodjonegoro said that the government decided to leave Java, the country’s main island, but has yet to decide on a new location.

During a cabinet meeting chaired by the president, three viable options were presented to cabinet. In the first one, Jakarta would remain the capital and government ministries would remain in the Monumen Nasional area. In the second one, the new capital would rise some 50-70 kilometres from Jakarta. The third one would see the capital move to another island.

"The president has chosen the latter option," Brodjonegoro noted.  This "crucial decision" is due to the need to stimulate economic growth in other regions. So far, it has been centred in Java, home to almost 60 per cent of Indonesia’s 260 million people.

More than 10 million people live in Jakarta, about a third of the larger urban area.  The city loses about 100 trillion rupiahs (US$ 7.04 billion) a year due traffic and congestion problems, Brodjonegoro explained.

The capital is also subject to flooding and sinking because of overuse of underground water, often illegally.

Citing examples like those of Brazil and Kazakhstan, the Planning Minister said that moving the capital could take up to ten years. Brodjonegoro noted that the government is looking to the east for its new capital.

According to some reports, the new capital could move to Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo), either Palangka Raya (Central Kalimantan province), Tanah Bumbu (South Kalimantan) or Panajam (East Kalimantan).