News analysis

Jokowi skilfully steers debate on new capital towards national identity

Indonesian leader's remarks timely, necessary after highly divisive presidential polls in April

Dressed in pegon, including with the customary kris tucked in his sarong, the traditional attire of the Sasak tribe on the island of Lombok, Indonesian President Joko Widodo stood before Parliament and proposed to move the country's capital from overcrowded Jakarta on Java island to Kalimantan on Borneo island.

"Indonesia is not only Jakarta, not only Java. But Indonesia is all corners of the country," he said in a speech yesterday, the eve of the nation's 74th Independence Day.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 17, 2019, with the headline 'Jokowi skilfully steers debate on new capital towards national identity'. Print Edition | Subscribe