Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo officially proposes moving the capital city from Jakarta to Borneo
Indonesian President Joko Widodo says his country will create a new capital city on the island of Borneo, revealing new details about his plan to move the central government out of Jakarta. The capital’s current location faces a number of problems, including the fact that it’s sinking, reported Baaghitv.
Widodo’s announcement on Monday comes months after he said he wanted to move the capital, seeking a place that can offer a break from Jakarta’s environmental challenges as well as its relentlessly gridlocked traffic.
While rising sea-water levels from climate change are a widespread concern for island and coastal areas worldwide, experts say that Jakarta has played a central role in its own predicament.
“Jakarta’s problems are largely man-made,” NPR’s Merrit Kennedy reported earlier this year, adding, “The area’s large population has extracted so much groundwater that it has impacted the ground levels, and many surface water resources are polluted.”
As it looked for a new capital, Indonesia’s state planning and development agency, called Bappenas, chose the Kalimantan site because it fit all the government’s criteria, “including being relatively free from earthquakes and volcanoes,” The Jakarta Post reports.
The new capital, which has yet to be named, would be in eastern Borneo, hundreds of miles northeast of Jakarta across the Java Sea. While the selected area is close to the cities of Balikpapan and Samarinda, the region is mostly known for its beaches and dense rainforests. Borneo’s lush jungles also form large national parks that are vital habitats for orangutans.
Widodo’s announcement has met with a broad range of reactions, from concerns about the environmental impact on Borneo to support – and suggestions that the president should focus more on Indonesia’s economy and its energy and health needs rather than on building a new capital.
It’s common for politicians to take office with promises to clean things up in the capital – to “drain the swamp.” But that rhetoric is both more literal and more complicated in Jakarta, which is seen as ” the fastest-sinking city in the world, with almost half of its area below sea level,” Kennedy reported.
With Jakarta’s situation predicted to grow increasingly dire, Widodo announced his new-capital initiative shortly after winning reelection in April. And while some on Borneo welcomed the idea that its infrastructure could get a boost, the idea of a central government moving in next door also r