Hopes Abound for New Capital City
The government is set to move the capital city to East Kalimantan as part of the national development strategy to achieve more equitable and sustainable development.
The government is set to move the capital city to East Kalimantan as part of the national development strategy to achieve more equitable and sustainable development. High public support entails the need to anticipate from the outset the various impacts of the capital city relocation.
The new capital city is projected to provide direction for development in Indonesia, particularly urban development.
National Development Planning Minister / National Development Planning Agency (Bappenas) head Suharso Monoarfa said on Tuesday (2/3/2021) that, in light of current economic conditions, the capital city relocation is seen as a key project to overcome the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The agency has outlined a six-point strategy to encourage the transformation of Indonesia\'s economy, which is currently hard hit by the pandemic.
Those six points are to create competitive human resources, increase economic productivity, accelerate the digital transformation, integrate the domestic economy and relocate the capital city as a new source of growth and economic balance between regions.
"The capital city relocation is an agglomeration of the other five goals, which in magnitude (of impact), I think, will be huge," Suharso said.
Urban development is urgent because the urban area continues to expand. According to the 2020 census, the current population of Indonesia is 270.2 million, with the rate of urbanization estimated at 66.6 percent.
The capital city relocation is an agglomeration of the other five goals, which in magnitude.
According to the 2010-2035 Indonesian population projection by Bappenas, the proportion of the country’s urban population in 2035 will be 10 percentage points higher than it was in 2020.
Presently, there is a demographic concentration on Java, which is home to 151.59 million people – 56.1 percent of the total population. Java, especially Jakarta, is the bastion of economic activity and center of government.
Covering an area of 661.5 square kilometers with 10.56 million people, Jakarta has been plagued by various problems, from a degrading environment due to resource overexploitation and floods to a lack of clean water, land subsidence exacerbated by a rising sea level, air pollution and traffic jams.
Overused land and disparity in growth between urban areas have become a national concern. That has prompted government to intervene with policies that direct and intersect the urban development, such as the relocation of the nation’s administrative center.
Also read: New Capital to be Smart City
The relocation is estimated to cost Rp 500 trillion. One percent of the cost, according to Suharso, will be apportioned from the state budget, with the rest coming from state-owned enterprises and private businesses.
The new capital city will cover 256,143 hectares in Sepaku district of Penajam Paser Utara regency as well as Samboja district and Muara Jawa district in Kutai Kartanegara regency.
With the main construction area occupying 56,000 ha, the new capital city is projected to be a compact, efficient and circular seat of government under the management of an authority responsible directly to the president.
The new capital is to become a so-called smart city with industry 4.0 technology and environmentally-friendly infrastructure, while about 75 percent of the area is designated for greenery.
Furthermore, it is planned to become a clean industry development center, with its economic development cluster to include neighboring Balikpapan and Samarinda.
Jakarta, which will relinquish its status as the capital city, will remain on the development agenda for its improvement. Between 800,000 and 1 million of its citizens are expected to move out to the new capital.
A poll by Kompas held at the end of March shows that more than a three-quarters of the respondents believe that relocating the capital city will improve the economy in Kalimantan and eastern Indonesia in general.
The poll result also reflects the opinion of local residents asked in early March. Azmir (69) and Teguh Prasetyo (62), both residents of the RT 010 neighborhood unit of Bumi Harapan village in Sepaku, Penajam Paser Utara, said on Thursday (11/3) that they believed the construction of the new capital city would improve infrastructure, such as roads, health and educational facilities, all of which had been elusive in the village since 1979.
Amid hopefulness, local residents remain wary about the protection of their ownership of the land they currently occupy. Some residents expect the only thing in it for them is to be recruited as manual workers for the capital city construction.
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The indigenous Dayak Paser and Dayak Mului communities, as well as environmental watchdogs, have warned against environmental damage, noting that conservation areas of East Kalimantan, together with other areas of Borneo, serve as the lung of the world.
Natural forests have almost been completely eroded at the site of the new capital city, which is blamed on rampant economic activities -- legally or illegally -- including mining, plantation, property business and other forms of exploitation.
Deforestation at the site and its surroundings threatens the conservation of endemic animals, such as proboscis monkeys, orangutans and dolphins.
Animals, especially endemic animals, have a mutual symbiotic relationship with their habitat -- forests and waters -- where they live. Their perilous condition will put nature in danger, which will consequently threaten human life.
Deforestation at the site and its surroundings threatens the conservation of endemic animals.
The dolphin habitat in the Balikpapan Bay, for example, which has been disturbed by passenger ships and coal vessels, faces the prospect of more degradation with the construction of a port on Balang Island planned in connection with the capital city relocation.
Suharso said the central government and the East Kalimantan administration continued to communicate in the drawing of the master plan to identify potential problems early.
President Joko Widodo last year posted a message on his three social media accounts, saying the Public Works and Housing Ministry had invited architects and artists to help create iconic buildings in the new capital.
One of the received proposals has been a conceptual design of the State Palace submitted by Nyoman Nuarta. His concept imbues a philosophy of the eagle as the symbol of the national unifier.
"I expect input from Bapak, Ibu and all fellow citizens regarding the pre-design of the State Palace. I want the State Palace to be remembered not only as a seat for the president to work or as a symbol of national pride, but also the nation\'s sophistication. Based on those inputs, I will invite back the architects and other experts to enrich the pre-design to become the grand design of the State Palace,” the President said.
Environment and Forestry Ministry Siti Nurbaya Bakar and East Kalimantan Governor Isran Noor inspected the planned capital city construction site at the PT ITCI Hutani Manunggal area in Sepaku on Saturday (3/4).
Also read: Moving the Capital
The minister said she would ensure the location for the center of government was in accordance with the grand design.
"The position must be seen based on the design. Then, let’s see the environmental perspective and the progress of the land (acquisition)," Siti said.
Arifin Rudiyanto, National Development Planning Ministry / Bappenas undersecretary for maritime and natural resources, said the visit was to ensure that the prospective capital city would not violate conservation and wildlife areas.
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The World Bank, through its Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery in a report entitled "Riskier Future" noted that population growth was closely correlated with increased socioeconomic activities and changes in land use. People’s welfare will be boosted by addressing the disaster threats.
Therefore, public aspirations should be accommodated, especially those of local people and experts, in regard of basic and potentially impacts, both in the short term and long term, so that the capital city relocation can be realized in accordance with the outlined goals.
Hope over the new capital city should be seen as a public mandate that needs to be carried out properly by policymakers and executors. (CIP / IDI / LAS)
This article was translated by Musthofid.