Jakarta – President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo wants the new Indonesian capital city to become the most iconic in the world by making use of Balikpapan Bay in East Kalimantan to "build an Indonesian-style presidential palace", according to the national development planning chief.
Jokowi announced in August that the government would build a new capital city in an area containing parts of the Kutai Kartanegara and North Penajam Paser regencies in East Kalimantan. The area is located about one hour by car from Balikpapan, the province's largest city.
"We will exploit the bay physically to show that we're a maritime and archipelago country. We will beautify it," National Development Planning Minister Suharso Monoarfa told journalists at the State Palace on Monday.
He added that the government planned to make the bay among the world's most iconic. "Moreover, the President wanted the future presidential palace to use Indonesian-style architectural design, as current palaces use the style of the colonial era," Suharso said.
Indonesia currently has six presidential palaces in cities across the country, most of which were built in European styles during the Dutch colonial era. The exception is Tampaksiring Palace in Bali, which incorporates Balinese and modern design.
To facilitate the construction of the new city, the minister said the government would form an agency to handle all preparations for the capital city's relocation. "Maybe it can be established by next month," Suharso said.
He did not mention whether the agency's chief would be selected by the President or by the National Development Planning Agency.
The minister also said the government had been working on necessary laws to support the capital relocation project by synchronizing available regulations. It planned to submit the drafts by the end of the year to the House of Representatives.
"They can take the form of omnibus laws, ordinary laws or presidential regulations. We, however, have prepared the bills' academic text," he said, adding the project would be completed on schedule.
The government initially planned to work on the new capital city's master plan and legal basis in 2020, followed by construction in 2021. (kuk)