President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has decided to push ahead with a plan to move the capital from Jakarta by establishing a new center of government outside Java, citing the need to ensure more equitable development and address overpopulation in the country’s most populous island.
The National Development Planning Agency (Bappenas) presented its initial study on the relocation plan during a Cabinet meeting led by Jokowi on Monday, where the top executives discussed alternatives to establish a new political and government hub amid environmental concerns and overcrowding in Jakarta.
“The President has decided in the meeting to move the capital outside Java,” Bappenas head Bambang Brodjonegoro said in a press conference after the meeting on Monday.
Bappenas presented three alternatives.
The first was to keep Jakarta as the capital but establish a government district centered around the Presidential Palace and the National Monument to improve efficiency, while the second option was to establish a new capital located 50 to 70 kilometers outside Jakarta.
However, Bambang said, neither of those two options would address the overpopulation in Java, a home to 57 percent of the roughly 260 million people of Indonesia, and they would not support the government’s aim to shift the nation from its Java-centric development to a more inclusive development agenda for the whole archipelago.
Jokowi, therefore, went with the third option, namely for the capital status to be conferred on a city outside Java, preferably located in the center of Indonesia, in order to represent fairness and to speed up development throughout in eastern Indonesia.
“We want to have a capital that represents the nation’s identity and improves the efficiency of the central government and establish a smart, green and beautiful city,” Bambang said. “The capital relocation must serve the strategic vision of our long-term development agenda.”
While the location of the new capital has yet to be decided, the Jokowi administration aims to form a center of government similar to Washington, DC, in a new city, leaving Jakarta as the business, trade and financial hub similar to New York in the United States.
Bambang said the new capital would house all three branches of Indonesia’s government, namely the executive, legislative and judiciary, as well as the headquarters of the National Police and the Indonesian Military, foreign embassies and international organizations. Meanwhile, financial sector institutions, such as Bank Indonesia, the Financial Services Authority (OJK) and the Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM), would remain in Jakarta. (swd)