1 million civil servants to move from Jakarta to new capital city in Kalimantan: minister

Indonesia’s National Monument (Monas) in Jakarta. Photo: Coconuts Media
Indonesia’s National Monument (Monas) in Jakarta. Photo: Coconuts Media

Jakarta may lose around one-tenth of its citizens — all of them government workers — in the coming years as the government moves forward with its plans to relocate Indonesia’s capital city to the island of Kalimantan.

Speaking about the relocation plan yesterday, Administrative and Bureaucratic Reform Minister Syafruddin said that all civil servants working for the central government will have to move to the new capital city.

“Yes, we have [planned for their relocation]. This is for the central ministries and institutions. The number of civil servants in the central level is 1 million,” Syafruddin told reporters, as quoted by Kompas.

Jakarta has a population of just over 10 million according to a 2014 census. The Greater Jakarta Area, which includes the capital as well as satellite cities Bogor, Depok, Tangerang, South Tangerang, and Bekasi, has a population of over 30 million.

In June, the Ministry of National Development (Bappenas) said that if the relocation plan goes ahead, Indonesia will start moving its capital city to an undetermined location in Kalimantan by 2024.

On Monday, Bappenas head Bambang Brodjonegoro said President Joko Widodo has approved the plan to move the capital to Kalimantan, though he has yet to reveal the exact site.

According to reports, two of the most likely locations for the new capital city are Kutai Kartanegara in East Kalimantan and Gunung Mas in Central Kalimantan. The new capital city will initially be home to 1.5 million people and its construction is expected to cost around US$33 billion.

The Indonesian government has long discussed the possibility of moving the nation’s capital to another city in the archipelago, which could potentially help solve many of Jakarta’s most pressing urban problems (traffic, pollution, overpopulation, etc) as well as lead to more balanced economic development for the country if the capital was moved outside of Java.

The idea to relocate the capital was first proposed by the country’s founding father, President Soekarno, who suggested that the central government’s base of operations be moved to Palangkaraya in Central Kalimantan in 1957. President Jokowi’s government was the latest administration to revive the idea, first publicly announcing relocation plans in 2017, and seem to be the one who could actually pull it off in Jokowi’s second term.

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