Indonesia’s president says the country’s capital will move from overcrowded, sinking and polluted Jakarta to a site in sparsely populated East Kalimantan province on Borneo island, known for rainforests and orangutans.
The proposed location — near the regional cities of Balikpapan and Samarinda — is an area at “minimal” risk of natural disasters, where the government already owns some 180,000 hectares (445,000 acres) of land, he added.
“The location is very strategic — it’s in the centre of Indonesia and close to urban areas,” Widodo said in a televised speech.
He said the burden has been become too heavy on Jakarta on Java island as the center of government, finance, business, trade and services as well as the location of the country’s largest airport and seaport.
“Jakarta will continue to be a megacity — as a centre for finance and commerce — for a few more decades, but ultimately it is at severe risk to climate change,” he added.
Shifting from problem-plagued Jakarta would also transfer Indonesia’s power base off Java island, where about half of the sprawling archipelago’s 260 million people live.
He said that his government is still drafting a law on the new capital which will need to be approved by Parliament.