The long-discussed plan to move Indonesia's capital away from Jakarta is getting more real by the month.
Following President Joko Widodo's confirmation last month that he planned to place the new capital somewhere in Kalimantan (which is comprised of the Indonesian portion of Borneo Island) and his formal request to Parliament last week, today a minister further narrowed down the new capital's potential location by specifying that it would be located in the province of East Kalimantan.
The news was delivered today by Minister of Agriculture and Land Planning Sofyan Djalil while he was attending a meeting an economic coordination meeting today.
"Yes, East Kalimantan is correct, but we do not yet know the specific location where," he said as quoted by Detik.
Previous reports had suggested that one of the most likely locations for the new capital city would be Kutai Kartanegara in East Kalimantan.
Sofyan said that an area of 3,000 hectares would be prepared for the first phase of the new capital's development, including essential government and legislative buildings. He said the city would eventually cover a total area of around 200,000-300,000 hectares.
"So that we can make it a beautiful garden city with a lot of parks so that people there can live healthily and have clean air. We hope that it will be an attractive city to live in," Sofyan added.
For comparison, the city of Jakarta covers just under 70,000 hectares while the Greater Jakarta Area, which includes major satellite cities Tangerang, Bekasi, Depok, and Bogor, covers over 400,000 hectares.
Earlier this week, Minister of Public Works and Public Housing (PUPR) Basuki Hadimuljono, released his ministry's proposed design ideas for the new capital city, which include abundant green spaces and parks.
The image seen at the top of this article illustrates PUPR's proposed design for a monument to the country's state ideology of Pancasila, which would be an obelisk similar to the National Monument in Jakarta, surrounded by a pentagon representing the five precepts of Pancasila.
Minister of National Development Planning Bambang Brodjonegoro previously said that another consideration for placing the new capital in Borneo were studies that showed it was unlikely to be struck by a major earthquake.
According to the government's ambitious proposed timetable, construction on the new capital will begin in 2021 and the transfer of functions will take place from 2023-2024.
In order to transfer government and legislative functions to the new capital, officials estimate that around one million civil servants will also need to make the move from Jakarta.
The Indonesian government has long discussed the possibility of moving the nation's capital to another city in the archipelago, which could potentially help solve many of Jakarta's most pressing urban problems (traffic, pollution, overpopulation, etc) as well as lead to more balanced economic development for the country if the seat of power was moved outside of Java.
The idea to relocate the capital was first proposed by the country's founding father, President Soekarno, who suggested that the central government's base of operations be moved to Palangkaraya in Central Kalimantan in 1957. President Jokowi's government is the latest to revive the idea, first tentatively announcing relocation plans in 2017 and then moving forward with them aggressively after the incumbent sealed his second term by winning April's presidential election.