Jokowi Wants Suggestions In Bid To Move Capital City Outside Java

Indonesia President
Indonesian President Joko Widodo and first lady Iriana Joko Widodo show their ink-stained fingers after casting their ballots during elections in Jakarta, Indonesia April 17, 2019. (Photo: REUTERS/Edgar Su)

Indonesia's planning minister revealed on Monday that President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo is planning to move the capital city of Jakarta. He has called on his countrymen to make suggestions and the town of Palangkaraya in Central Kalimantan Province has been mentioned.

According to The Star, a number of social media users responded to Jokowi's call on Twitter and other social media networks for suggestions on a suitable location for a capital city outside of Java.

Both Central and East Kalimantan have been pitched by some social media users but Palingkaya has been a popular recommendation. A Twitter user also suggested that the government should consider establishing an eco-friendly capital city.

The Jakarta Globe reported that Jokowi told ministers to draft detailed plans for potential cities in the coming months as urgency on moving the capital city has been heightened over traffic congestion and increased corporate activities in Jakarta.

Jokowi said during Monday's cabinet meeting that the new capital city should be 50-70 kilometers outside the city or it should be a location outside Java. South Sulawesi's Makassar has reportedly been raised as a potential site by some government officials.

National Development Planning Minister Bambang Brodjonegoro pointed out that the new capital will most likely be in an area that will encourage economic growth in far-flung regions of Indonesia.

Bambang added that if Jokowi gets the majority of the House to agree with his plan, government officials will most likely propose a location that has suitable and adequate facilities to cater to government needs such as infrastructure, communication networks, electricity, an airport, and the likes.

Flooding is one of the reasons why Jokowi wants to move the capital city, Bambang said. He noted that the new location should pose the least disaster risks and should also be welcome to the idea of migrants moving along with the government.

Indonesia has been discussing the potential move over the past decades. However, no government has actually acted on the proposal. According to SBS News, economic experts have lauded Jokowi for taking the first steps towards moving the capital city of Indonesia.

Analysts noted that Jokowi is the first Indonesian president to take the move seriously. Professor of Global Urban Politics at the University of Melbourne Michele Acuto said Jokowi's plan will most likely take around 10 years to be completed.

Another expert, Lowy Institute's Ben Bland, agreed that Palangkaraya is a good location due to its freedom from potentially extreme natural disasters. On the other hand, Bland said Indonesia can use the example of other countries such as Brazil and Kazakhstan.

According to Reuters, Jokowi has called on the Finance Ministry to develop a funding scheme for the initiative. He has allowed private investors to participate in budget planning.

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