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Indonesia's Planning Minister Announces Capital Movement



  Jakarta skyline view

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Jakarta is one of the fastest sinking cities in the world

According to the country's planning minister, Indonesia relocates its capital from Jakarta.

Bambang Brodjonegoro said that President Joko Widodo has opted for "an important decision" for the relocation of the capital.

The new location is not known yet. However, state media reports that one of the front runners is Palangkaraya on the island of Borneo.

Jakarta, home to over 1

0 million people, is sinking at one of the fastest rates in the world.

The announcement came after Mr Widodo declared victory in the country's parliamentary elections, although the official results are not announced until 22 May since the country's independence from the Dutch in 1945.

A poll showed 2016 that the mega city had the heaviest traffic congestion in the world. Government ministers must be accompanied by police convoys to get to the meetings on time.

The Planning Minister says whiskers in Jakarta cost the economy $ 100 trillion ($ 6.8 billion, $ 5.4 billion).

  • Jakarta Metro to Combat Infamous Traffic
  • Why Indonesia's capital Jakarta sinks

Jakarta is also one of the fastest sinking cities in the world.

Researchers say large parts of the megacity could be completely submerged by 2050. North Jakarta dropped by 2.5 meters (eight feet) in ten years and continues to drop an average of 1 to 15 cm per year.

The city is located on the coast on marshy land, crossed by 13 rivers.

Half of Jakarta is below sea level. One of the main causes is the extraction of groundwater, which is used as drinking water and for bathing.

There has also been an extensive government decentralization program over the last two decades to give municipalities greater political power and financial resources.

What options are there?

In a Cabinet meeting, three options were reportedly discussed and presented to the President.

In one of them, a special zone has been set up for government offices in today's capital. Another was to relocate it outside of Jakarta, and the third the President had preferred was the construction of a new capital on another island.

The main candidate is Palangkaraya, hundreds of kilometers northeast in the center of Kalimantan – the part of Borneo that belongs to Indonesia.

It is geographically located near the center of the archipelago and the Indonesian founding father Sukarno has proposed to make it the capital.

In Palangkaraya, there is a mixed reaction to the idea that their sleepy city will become the nation's capital.

A high school student told the BBC, "I hope the city will develop and education will be as good as in Jakarta, but all the land and forest that is now empty will be used." Kalimantan is the lungs of World and I worry, we will lose the forest we left behind. "

Mr. Brodjonegoro said the trial could take 10 years. He told reporters after the meeting that if other countries could achieve this, Indonesia could do the same.

"Brazil moved from Rio de Janeiro to Brasilia near the Amazon, and Canberra was built between Sydney and Melbourne, Kazakhstan moved its capital closer to the center of the country, Myanmar moved to Naypyidaw.

The announcement took place After Widodo vowed to spread economic development in the country more evenly.

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Getty Images

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Joko Widodo announced the announcement on Monday


A Strong Political Message

By Rebecca Henschke, former editor-in-chief of BBC Indonesian

Indonesians are skeptical because their capital is constantly moving. They have heard this before, and none of the six Indonesian presidents could do it.

But President Joko Widodo has achieved an ambitious infrastructure construction in his five years in office, so he could be the man to finally do it.

Indonesia is an incredibly diverse nation made up of hundreds of ethnic groups living on thousands of islands. However, economic development, national cultural identity and political power have always been dominated by the Javanese.

There has never been a non-Javanese president, and most of the Indonesian wealth is concentrated in Jakarta.

Indonesians living in the far east of Java, in particular, have long complained that they were forgotten and neglected by the country's leaders sitting in the sprawling capital.

If you pull the capital out of Java, it would radiate a strong political message that this will change if that happens.



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