It’s official! President Joko Widodo names North Penajam Paser and Kutai Kartanegara as sites for Indonesia’s next capital city

The approximate site of Indonesia’s new capital city in East Kalimantan province. Photo: Google Maps
The approximate site of Indonesia’s new capital city in East Kalimantan province. Photo: Google Maps

There you have it. In a few years, Jakarta will relinquish its title as Indonesia’s capital city to a new location in East Kalimantan province.

President Joko Widodo just made a national address this afternoon from the State Palace, ending months of speculation regarding the new location of the country’s capital.

“The most ideal location for the new capital is partly in North Penajam Paser regency and partly in Kutai Kartanegara regency,” Jokowi said in his address at the State Palace, flanked by his Vice President Jusuf Kalla, Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan, East Kalimantan Governor Isran Noor, as well as cabinet ministers.

The two regencies intersect in the mid-point between Balikpapan and Samarinda, the two biggest cities in East Kalimantan, with the latter being the province’s capital. Jokowi said the new site’s proximity to the two cities was a major factor in the government’s decision, as it could take advantage of their existing infrastructure such as airports.

Jokowi said the development is expected to cost up to IDR477 trillion (US$36.6 billion), 19% of which will be covered by the State Budget while the remainder will be fronted by a combination of investments from private entities and state-owned enterprises.

Jokowi said as soon as the function of the capital is transferred to the new site, the government will still continue to develop Jakarta as an economic and business hub for Indonesia and the world.

Minister of Agriculture and Land Planning Sofyan Djalil said the government will enforce a land value freeze at the new capital city site to prevent land speculation in the area.

Previously, President Joko Widodo’s said he planned to place the new capital somewhere in Kalimantan (which is comprised of the Indonesian portion of Borneo Island) and made a formal request to Parliament last week. Sofyan Djalil then further narrowed down the new capital’s potential location by specifying that it would be located in the province of East Kalimantan.

Sofyan said that an area of 3,000 hectares would be prepared for the first phase of the new capital’s development, including essential government and legislative buildings. He said the city would eventually cover a total area of around 200,000-300,000 hectares.

For comparison, the city of Jakarta covers just under 70,000 hectares while the Greater Jakarta Area, which includes major satellite cities Tangerang, Bekasi, Depok, and Bogor, covers over 400,000 hectares.

Also last week, Minister of Public Works and Public Housing (PUPR) Basuki Hadimuljono, released his ministry’s proposed design ideas for the new capital city, which include abundant green spaces and parks.

Proposed design for the new capital's Pancasila Monument. Image: Ministry of Public Works and Public Housing (PUPR)
Proposed design for the new capital’s Pancasila Monument. Image: Ministry of Public Works and Public Housing (PUPR)

The image seen above illustrates PUPR’s proposed design for a monument to the country’s state ideology of Pancasila, which would be an obelisk similar to the National Monument in Jakarta, surrounded by a pentagon representing the five precepts of Pancasila. 

Minister of National Development Planning Bambang Brodjonegoro previously said that another consideration for placing the new capital in Borneo were studies that showed it was unlikely to be struck by a major earthquake

According to the government’s ambitious proposed timetable, construction on the new capital will begin in 2021 and the transfer of functions will take place from 2023-2024. 

In order to transfer government and legislative functions to the new capital, officials estimate that around one million civil servants will also need to make the move from Jakarta.

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 seat of power 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 is the latest to revive the idea, first tentatively announcing relocation plans in 2017 and then moving forward with them aggressively after the incumbent sealed his second term by winning April’s presidential election.

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