Not long after winning a second term, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo announced that the nation’s capital will be moved from Jakarta to a new site in East Kalimantan. Jokowi said that the decision was mainly motivated by the fact that Jakarta is literally sinking from over-development and it can no longer handle the burden of being Indonesia’s centre of commerce and government. The government has argued that moving the capital to East Kalimantan will also help to redistribute economic development to regions outside of Java, particularly in eastern Indonesia.
The news was received with both excitement and caution. A move of this scale will take many years to complete, and the costs will be astronomical. There are also questions about the environmental and social impacts of building a new city from scratch in an area that was once a tropical forest with rich biodiversity.
To discuss the planned capital city move, I speak with Dr Martin Siyaranamual, a microeconomist and lecturer in the Department of Economics at Padjadjaran University in Bandung, and Dr Rita Padawangi, a Senior Lecturer at Singapore University of Social Sciences.
In 2019, the Talking Indonesia podcast is co-hosted by Dr Charlotte Setijadi from Singapore Management University, Dr Dave McRae from the University of Melbourne’s Asia Institute, Dr Jemma Purdey from Deakin University, and Dr Dirk Tomsa from La Trobe University.