Jokowi’s call for new capital sparks lively response on Facebook

02-May-2019 Intellasia | Straits Times | 6:00 AM Print This Post

Kalimantan most suitable, many say; not all in favour of relocating

President Joko Widodo’s social media post calling for public views on his plan to relocate Indonesia’s capital away from Java island drew more than 25,000 comments on Facebook within an hour yesterday.

Some netisens, understandably, recommended their own hometownsfrom Ambon and Batam to even far-flung Papua.

But the place that came up repeatedly was Kalimantan, Indonesia’s side of the massive Borneo island.

Jakarta, a sprawling metropolis of more than 10 million people, has suffered from traffic congestion, overcrowding, pollution and regular flooding for decades. President Joko Widodo said keeping Jakarta as Indonesia's capital may not be sustainable in the long term as the city has two burdens - as the centre of government and public services, as well as a centre for business.(Straits times)

Jakarta, a sprawling metropolis of more than 10 million people, has suffered from traffic congestion, overcrowding, pollution and regular flooding for decades. President Joko Widodo said keeping Jakarta as Indonesia’s capital may not be sustainable in the long term as the city has two burdens – as the centre of government and public services, as well as a centre for business.(Straits Times)

This was not a surprise since Indonesia’s founding president Sukarno had once considered making Palangkaraya, in Central Kalimantan province, the country’s administrative centre.

Netisen Tommy Wijaya, who lives in Medan, North Sumatra, said Central Kalimantan is “most suitable”, given its land area, population, lower potential for natural and artificial disasters, as well as defence and security factors.

“Agreed, Palangkaraya,” posted Muza Ahmad, a resident of Lamongan, East Java. “So far, there have been no earthquakes and floods.”

While a new location for the capital has yet to be finalised, Joko has given the assurance that ongoing discussions will not only consider short-term benefits, but also the needs and interests of Indonesia as it continues on its journey to becoming a developed nation.

The President, best known by his moniker Jokowi, hinted that it will be a long process, adding that the idea of moving the capital has been part of the discourse in every presidency since the Sukarno era.

According to The Jakarta Post, the Jokowi administration, following the Washington DC-New York model, will make the new capital the centre of government, while Jakarta continues to function as the business, trade and financial hub.

All three branches of governmentthe executive, legislative and judiciaryas well as the headquarters for the National Police and Indonesian Armed Forces, embassies and other international organisations, will relocate to the new capital.

Officials said on Monday that the move, first revived by Joko in 2017, could take up to 10 years.

This will mean that he will unlikely preside over the completion of the relocation even if he is expected to be declared the winner of the April 17 presidential polls later this month, as Indonesian presidents are limited to a maximum of two five-year terms.

Joko’s comments on Facebook yesterday followed Monday’s high-level meeting where he reportedly made known his decision to relocate the capital outside of Java.

With almost six in 10 Indonesians living in Java, relocating the capital will ease the pressure of overcrowding on Indonesia’s most populated island, even as the country seeks new growth directions.

Jakarta, a sprawling metropolis of more than 10 million people, has suffered from traffic congestion, over-crowding, widespread pollution and regular flooding for decades.

But not all are in favour of relocating. Many social media users from Jakarta have urged Joko on Facebook to dedicate more resources to solving the city’s problems instead.

Likewise, Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan said on Monday that Joko’s plan will not resolve the city’s congestion, among other problems, because governmental activities are not the cause.

“So the relocation of the capital city will not automatically alleviate congestion because the largest contributors to the issue in Jakarta are household and private activities, Anies told reporters.

Joko yesterday gave his take on why keeping Jakarta as the capital may not be sustainable in the long term. “Jakarta currently bears two burdens at onceas the centre of government and public services, as well as a centre for business. Can this city still carry these burdens in the future?”

https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/se-asia/jokowis-call-for-new-capital-sparks-lively-response-on-facebook

 

Tags:

Category: Indonesia

Print This Post

Comments are closed.