Jakarta is one of the world’s fastest sinking cities in the world. Picture: AP
Jakarta is one of the world’s fastest sinking cities in the world. Picture: AP

Indonesia names location for new capital

INDONESIA is moving its capital to Borneo island from Jakarta, a traffic-clogged megalopolis that is one of the world's fastest sinking cities.

The relocation is set to start from 2024.

President Joko Widodo said intense studies over the past three years had resulted in the choice of the location to a site in sparsely populated East Kalimantan province on Borneo island, known for rainforests and orang-utans.

The new capital city, which has not yet been named, will be in the middle of the vast archipelago nation and already has relatively complete infrastructure because it is near the cities of Balikpapan and Samarinda, Widodo said.

Scooter riders caught in traffic congestion in Jakarta, Indonesia. Picture: Ed Wray
Scooter riders caught in traffic congestion in Jakarta, Indonesia. Picture: Ed Wray

He said the burden has become too heavy on Jakarta on Java island as the centre of government, finance, business, trade and services as well as the location of the country's largest airport and seaport.

Widodo said the decision was made not to move the capital elsewhere on Java because the country's wealth and people are highly concentrated there and should be spread out.

Currently 54 per cent of the country's nearly 270 million people live on Java, the country's most densely populated area.

"We couldn't continue to allow the burden on Jakarta and Java island to increase in terms of population density," Widodo said at a news conference in Jakarta's presidential palace. "Economic disparities between Java and elsewhere would also increase."

Mineral-rich East Kalimantan was once almost completely covered by rainforests, but illegal logging has removed many of its original growth.

It is home to only 3.5 million people and is surrounded by Kutai National Park, known for orang-utans and other primates and mammals.

Widodo said the relocation of the capital to a 180,000-hectare (444,780-acre) site will take up a decade and cost as much as 466 trillion rupiah ($32.5 billion), of which 19 per cent will come from the state budget and the rest will be funded by co-operation between the government and business entities and by direct investment by state-run companies and the private sector.

 

COUNTRIES THAT MOVED THEIR CAPITALS

AUSTRALIA: Australia's purpose-built capital Canberra became official in the late 1920s as a compromise between rivals Sydney and Melbourne, which both dwarf its modest population of about 400,000.

NIGERIA: Africa's most populous country moved its capital in 1991 from teeming Lagos to Abuja, a planned city built in the 80s that was more central and less congested.

PAKISTAN: Pakistan moved its seat of government from Karachi on the far southern coast to the purpose-built city of Islamabad in the 60s. The new capital, developed by a Greek architect, is known for its greenery and quality living standards.

MYANMAR: Myanmar shifted its capital from Yangon to central Naypyidaw in the mid-2000s. The sprawling city has almost six times the land area of New York. It boasts a replica of Yangon's Shwedagon Pagoda and a 20-lane highway, although they're often empty as the city is sparsely populated.

BRAZIL: Brazil started moving its capital to Brasilia from Rio de Janeiro in 1960. Acclaimed for its large-scale modernist architecture, the city was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987.

KAZAKHSTAN: Kazakhstan's capital Astana - recently renamed Nursultan after its ex-president - became the country's administrative centre in 1997, taking the crown from Almaty. Designed by a Japanese architect, the city is known for its futuristic skyline.

EGYPT: Egypt is planning to move to a new administrative capital being built in the desert some 45km from the centre of overcrowded Cairo, a city of nearly 20 million.


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