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Activities to Move Indonesia's Capital City to Start in 2018?
URBAN LIFE Indonesia

Activities to Move Indonesia's Capital City to Start in 2018?

Indonesia President Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo is getting deeper into the idea of moving the Indonesian capital out of Java. Palangkaraya, the provincial capital of Central Kalimantan, is among the alternatives considered, as has been reported so far.

President Joko Widodo discussed that matter in detail with Bambang Brodjonegoro, Minister/Head the National Development Planning Agency at the State Palace. They had previously held similar talks over the past months, Minister Bambang said as reported by Kompas.com.

Monday’s meeting focused on several matters including funding schemes for the state capital relocation program, its location, and city planning, Bambang said.

“In 2018 or 2019, certain activities related to the relocation of the administration will begin,” the minister told reporters at his office. He did not elaborate further detail.

But the would-be relocation program had never been discussed at cabinet level, Home Affairs Minister Tjahyo Kumolo said in March. In addition, moving the state capital must get approval from the House of Representatives (DPR), according to existing laws.

Like the President and many other top officials, Minister Tjahyo views the program as very costly and taking a long time to complete. Moreover, he argued that the government now gives priority to the acceleration of equal development for all regions across the country.   Jokowi’s predecessor, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, had also discussed with his ministers about the capital relocation plan.

The idea of moving the capital to Palangkaraya came for the first time from Soekarno, Indonesia’s first president who proclaimed the country’s independence in August 1945, along with Muhammad Hatta. Soekarno reportedly aired the relocation proposal in 1956.

Some experts consider that the dual role of Jakarta as the center of government and business is the root of the problem. It makes Jakarta very attractive, stimulating the flow of people to work and live there. They argue that separating the two roles by establishing a new capital city is the solution to save Jakarta from further rapid growth, as well as to reduce the concentration of economic development in Jakarta and Java.

Palangkaraya, currently the capital city of Central Kalimantan; has been largely considered as the would-be capital. It is located in the middle of the vast archipelag, and state capital relocation was aimed to make Indonesia less ‘Javacentrics’.

However, Vice President Jusuf Kalla reportedly preferred Mamuju, the capital of West Sulawesi Province, as the new location for the state capital. Mamuju is ‘more central’ when compared with Palangkaraya, Jusuf Kalla said, who hails from South Sulawesi.

Some experts, however, do not agree to move Indonesia's capital. Not only it is very expensive to do so, Jakarta's current problems and challenges can still be addressed.  With a population density of more than 10,000 inhabitants per sq km,  managing Jakarta is tough. It is at par with other large and densely populated cities like Cairo, Tehran, Dhaka and Mumbai. However, it is also equivalent to modern cities like Beijing, New York, Tokyo, Seoul and Hong Kong.In short, with great city planning and management, Jakarta can be transformed into a world-class city.

Various studies have been conducted on ways to improve Jakarta. However, most are project-driven and the government needs to connect those studies to establish an integrated and comprehensive plan on how to handle floods, traffic jams, water and air pollution, shanty towns and many other social problems that exist in Jakarta.

Making Jakarta on a par with other world-class cities is achievable. There is a long list of steps to be taken. One of the first such steps is to end the idea of moving the capital city, since it distracts focus and attention that needs to be directed at making the existing capital work.**

**Wijayanto Samirin is the vice rector of paramadina University, and is the co-founder and managing director of paramadina public policy Institute. 

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Source and reference :

Global Indonesian Voice | The Jakarta Globe | Kompas.com | Merdeka.com

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