Jakarta has been Indonesia’s capital city since the country came into existence. But there are obvious drawbacks to having the central government’s offices all centralized in such a crowded and bustling mega-city.
The idea that Indonesia’s capital city be moved away from Jakarta is nothing new. In fact, the idea was first proposed by founding father President Soekarno in 1957, who suggested that the central government’s base of operations be moved to Palangkaraya, a city in Central Kalimantan.
Obviously, nothing came of that idea, but it was revisited in 2010 by former President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono when he created a team to analyze the possibility of moving the capital to another region.
In 2015, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s administration also brought up the discussion. National Development Planning Minister Andrinof Chaniago said in April that the cities of Sampit and Pangkalan Bun in Central Kalimantan may be suitable sites for the new capital city, while Palangkaraya might also be suitable although there were worries that the city had problems like being prone to flooding.
Yesterday, Central Kalimantan Governor Sugianto Sabran added more weight to the capital relocation discussion when he said that his province is preparing 500 hectares of land in Palangkaraya, Gunung Mas Regency and Katingan to facilitate a new central government administrative center.
“The regional heads of those three regions are ready to prepare [land for the new capital city],” Sugianto said, as quoted by Otonomi yesterday.
Sugianto added that his provincial government would also pay close attention to the maintenance of roads in the three regions should the nation’s capital city be moved there.
Despite that, the idea of moving the capital remains mainly speculative. But there’s one thing we know for sure – if the capital was moved to Central Kalimantan, we’d see politicians take strong steps to immediately stop the toxic haze that has blanketed the region in previous years.