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Indonesia names new capital Nusantara as MPs back relocation | Political news

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The ambitious $32.5 billion project will move Indonesia’s capital from overcrowded, polluted and sinking Jakarta to a sparsely populated jungle area in Borneo.

Indonesia’s parliament has passed a bill to move the national capital from Jakarta to a jungle area on the island of Borneo.

The new state capital law, approved on Tuesday, provides a legal framework for President Joko Widodos’ ambitious $32.5 billion megaproject and stipulates how its development will be financed and governed.

The president chose the name of the new town Nusantara, a Javanese name for the Indonesian archipelago.

The new capital has a central function and is a symbol of the nation’s identity, as well as a new economic center of gravity, Planning Minister Suharso Monoarfa told parliament after the bills were passed.

great hub

Several presidents have proposed moving the government from Jakarta, a bustling metropolis of 10 million that suffers from chronic congestion, flooding, pollution and sinking due to excessive groundwater extraction, but none didn’t go that far.

Jokowi, as the president is widely known, first announced the plan in 2019, but progress has been delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

His government envisions the new capital as a low-carbon super hub that will support the pharmaceutical, healthcare and technology sectors and drive sustainable growth beyond the island of Java, the most densely populated area in the world. country.

Currently, 54% of Indonesians, or nearly 270 million people, live in Java.

The site of the new capital, about 2,000 km (1,250 miles) northeast of Jakarta, will straddle the regencies of North Penjam Paser and Kutai Kartanegara in Borneo’s Kalimantan province, which are home to 900,000 people. It is located in the center of Indonesia, in one of the areas least prone to natural disasters that regularly strike the vast archipelago of 17,000 islands.

The government has set aside 180,000 hectares (445,000 acres) of land for the planned city, and Jokowi has previously said moving the administrative center would take up to a decade. The state will fund 19% of the $32.5 billion cost, with the rest coming from public-private partnerships and private investment.

The price includes new government offices and housing for around 1.5 million civil servants.

But critics say there has been limited public consultation on the plan, while environmentalists fear the move could accelerate the destruction of forests that are home to orangutans, sun bears and long-nosed monkeys, as well as the increase in already increasing pollution due to coal mining. and palm oil industries.

Nusantara, which follows the creation of new capitals in countries including Brazil and, more recently, Myanmar, will be led by a senior authority whose position is equivalent to a minister, according to Saan Mustofa, deputy chairman of the special commission. bills.

Candidates for the post include former research and technology minister Bambang Brodjonegoro and former Jakarta governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, better known as Ahok.

Sources

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2/ https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/1/18/nusantara-indonesias-parliament-passes-law-to-relocate-capital

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