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.
President Joko Widodo said on Aug. 26 intense studies over the past three years had resulted in the choice of the location on the eastern side of Borneo island. The new capital city, which has not yet been named, will be in the middle of the vast archipelago nation and already has relatively complete infrastructure because it is near the cities of Balikpapan and Samarinda, Widodo said.
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.
Photo: Taipei Times
Widodo said the decision was made not to move the capital elsewhere on Java because the country’s wealth and people are highly concentrated there and should be spread out.
Currently 54 percent of the country’s 270 million people live on Java, Indonesia’s most densely populated area.
“We couldn’t continue to allow the burden on Jakarta and Java island to increase in terms of population density,” Widodo said at a news conference in the presidential palace. “Economic disparities between Java and elsewhere would also increase.” In an interview last month, Widodo said he wants to separate the center of government from the country’s business and economic center in Jakarta.
Jakarta is an archetypical Asian mega-city with 10 million people, or 30 million including those in its greater metropolitan area. It is prone to earthquakes and flooding and is rapidly sinking due to uncontrolled extraction of ground water. The ground water and rivers are highly contaminated. Congestion is estimated to cost the economy US$6.5 billion a year.
Mineral-rich East Kalimantan was once almost completely covered by rainforests, but illegal logging has removed many of its original growth. It is home to only 3.5 million people and is surrounded by Kutai National Park, known for orangutans and other primates and mammals.
Widodo said the relocation of the capital to a 180,000-hectare site will take up a decade and cost as much as 466 trillion rupiah (US$32.5 billion), of which 19 percent will come from the state budget and the rest funded by cooperation between the government and business entities and by direct investment by state-run companies and the private sector.
He said the studies determined that the best site is between two districts, North Penajam Paser and Kutai Kertanegara, an area that has minimal risk of disasters such as floods, earthquakes, tsunamis, forest fires, volcanic eruptions or landslides in the seismically active nation.
Indonesia’s founding father and first president, Sukarno, once planned to relocate the capital to Palangkaraya in Central Kalimantan province.
Infrastructure improvement has been Widodo’s signature policy and helped him win a second term in April elections.
1. What disadvantages does the current Indonesian capital Jakarta have?
2. On which island is Jakarta? Is the proposed new capital on the same island?
3. What natural disasters is Indonesia prone to?
4. Please indicate the location of Indonesia on the map.
(Lin Lee-kai, Taipei Times)
1. capital n.
首都 (shou3 du1)
2. overcrowded adj.
(guo4 du4 yong2 ji3 de5)
3. sparsely populated phr.
(ren2 yan1 xi1 shao3 de5)
4. rainforest n.
雨林 (yu3 lin2)
5. archipelago nation phr.
(qun2 dao3 guo2 jia1)
6. infrastructure n.
(ji1 chu3 jian4 she4)
7. relocation n.
搬遷 (ban1 qian1)
8. disaster n.
災害 (zai1 hai4)
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