The Jakarta Post
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo plodded through winds and rain during a visit to Mount Ainslie in Canberra, Australia, on Sunday, to study the development of the neighboring country’s capital city amid Indonesia’s own plans to build a new capital.
Jokowi said he wanted to understand what it took to develop a capital city such as Canberra as his government went ahead with a plan to relocate the nation’s capital from Jakarta to East Kalimantan.
“I asked the governor a lot of questions, as well as Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and National Capital Authority CEO Sally Barnes – we want to have a complete picture of what it takes to develop Canberra, how to [construct a capital] from scratch,” Jokowi said in a statement issued by the Presidential Palace on Sunday.
He visited the hill on the sidelines of an official presidential trip following the recent ratification of the Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IA-CEPA) by Indonesia's House of Representatives.
Presiden @jokowi meninjau Mount Ainslie, di Canberra, Australia, Minggu (9/2). Di Mount Ainslie, dapat terlihat Kota Canberra secara keseluruhan. Presiden ingin mendapat bayangan tata kota & manajemen Kota Canberra. Nantinya, yg baik akan diambil untuk pembangunan ibu kota baru. pic.twitter.com/8Xy9FSfnuR— Sekretariat Kabinet (@setkabgoid) February 9, 2020
Jokowi said he was impressed by spatial planning in Canberra – a city constructed in 1913 with a population of 400,000.
“We saw that the spatial planning was very good. We’ll study the positive aspects to improve the development of our new capital – both in terms of management and planning. We noticed that there were no administrative buildings that were more than seven stories high. But areas that are far away from the seat of the government allow [the construction of skyscrapers]; it’s a very good [policy],” he said.
He went on to reiterate the government’s commitment to the relocation of Indonesia’s capital to East Kalimantan. The research phase of the relocation began five years ago and a design competition also commenced a year ago, he said.
“We have made a decision; all there’s left to do is wait for a new law courtesy of the House of Representatives. Once the law is established, we will commence land clearing, as well as the construction of basic infrastructure. I think that’s what we’ll be doing,” he said.
Jokowi previously announced in August last year that the province's North Penajam Paser and Kutai Kertanegara regencies would host the country's new capital, replacing the overpopulated and sinking Jakarta. (rfa)