Here’s Why Indonesia is Planning to Relocate its Capital

There’s a chance that this could be happening in just a few years.
Saturday 4 May 2019
The move will cost the Indonesian government US$23 billion to US$33 billion. Photo: iStock

​Indonesia is considering a plan to move its capital away from sprawling megalopolis Jakarta, officials said on Monday. Urban planning minister Bambang Brodjonegoro said the long-stalled relocation plan won approval from President Joko Widodo who favoured moving the capital away from Indonesia’s most populous Java island.

The idea of moving Indonesia’s seat of government from an urban conglomeration of nearly 30 million people with some of the world’s worst traffic jams has stretched on for decades. “(Widodo) decided on … the option to relocate the capital,” Brodjonegoro said after a cabinet meeting.

Indonesia Jakarta iStock (3) - Jakarta
Photo: iStock

In a statement before the meeting, Widodo expressed support for the idea, but he did not give an alternate location or a timeline for any move. “In the future, would Jakarta be able to carry the double burden of being both the centre of government and its business centre?” he asked in the statement. “If we prepare well from the very beginning, this great (relocation) idea could be realised,” he added.

During his re-election campaign, Widodo pledged to spread economic growth more evenly in the nation of 260 million. He won a second term this month, according to unofficial poll results.

According to the United Nations, Jakarta is home to more than 10 million people, with an estimated 30 million in the greater metropolitan area. The low-lying city is also prone to annual flooding and is one of the world’s fastest-sinking cities, according to the not-for-profit organization The World Economic Forum, due to excessive groundwater extraction.

Indonesia Jakarta iStock (1) - Jakarta
Photo: iStock

Brodjonegoro estimated that the government would need the equivalent of US$23 billion to US$33 billion to move the capital, build new infrastructure and relocate civil servants from Jakarta, CNN Indonesia reported.

Local media have reported that a possible new capital would be Palangkaraya city on the island of Borneo but any jump to a new city could still be years away. Jakarta which suffers billions of dollars in annual congestion-and-flood linked economic losses would remain the country’s financial hub.

Sources: AFP, CNN

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