Indonesian leader reaffirms plan to move capital from sinking Jakarta

Indonesian President Joko Widodo said in a Twitter post that the capital will move to Kalimantan Island. PHOTO: REUTERS

JAKARTA (DPA) - Indonesian President Joko Widodo reaffirmed on Thursday (Aug 8) that the country's capital would be moved to Borneo island from sinking and traffic-clogged Jakarta.

"Our country's capital will move to Kalimantan Island. The location can be in Central Kalimantan, East Kalimantan or South Kalimantan," Mr Joko said on Twitter, using the Indonesian name for Borneo.

"All aspects are being studied thoroughly so that the decision will be in line with our national vision for the next 10, 50, 100 years," he said.

The city of Palangkaraya and an area near oil-rich Balikpapan have been considered as among the likely site for the new capital.

Experts said unlike other parts of Indonesia, most of Borneo is not prone to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.

The government wants to start moving to a new capital by 2024, at the end of Mr Joko's second five-year term in office. National Development Planning Minister Bambang Brodjonegoro said earlier this year that such a move could cost up to US$33 billion (S$45.61 billion).

Funding will involve allowing developers to manage government-owned property in Jakarta in return for helping build the future new city, he said.

The government has cited traffic congestion, frequent flooding and faster land subsidence as the main considerations for the move.

About 40 per cent of Jakarta, a metropolis of 10 million people, is now below sea level and keeps sinking.

The greater Jakarta area, including satellite cities, is home to 30 million people.

The government has said economic losses caused by the city's traffic jams are estimated at 100 trillion rupiah (S$9.75 billion) a year.

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