Daniel A. Fajri, Jakarta – President Joko Widodo or Jokowi expressed his optimism that many foreign investors are interested in the state capital of Nusantara or IKN project as evidenced by the pile of letters of intent (LOI) although there is no investment realization yet.
"With the big pile of LOIs received, it's impossible that there will be no realization. I think there will be many [investments], but we are prioritizing domestic investors," he said in a press statement after sending off the second shipment of humanitarian aid for Palestine today, Nov. 20, at Jakarta Halim Perdanakusuma Air Force Base.
He claimed that the government has thus far collected at least 300 investment commitments from foreign investors for the mega project. "I think the number will continue to grow," he added.
In a press statement after attending the Asia Pacific Economic Forum or APEC CEO Summit in San Francisco, United States on Thursday, November 16, he admitted that the government has not yet secured any foreign investment for the project in East Kalimantan. However, he is optimistic that once domestic investors make a move, foreign ones will follow.
Meanwhile, Ronny P. Sasmita, a senior analyst at the Indonesian Strategic and Economic Action Institution, assessed that IKN is not yet viable in the eyes of foreign investors. According to him, they see investment opportunities differently from domestic investors because they do not have clientelism or political-economic ties with the authorities.
"They are clearer in assessing and projecting investment opportunities in IKN," Ronny told Tempo on Saturday, November 18.
He opined that the absence of foreign investors for the government's ambitious project should be a source of introspection to rethink the issue of developing IKN, which is not feasible and appropriate from various angles, both geographical, equity for the entire population, and geopolitical strategic.
"We have not heard of a comprehensive academic study on this IKN until now. [The government] suddenly executed it right after Jokowi was inaugurated for the second term," Ronny added.
Recent reports have also suggested that the IKN project in East Kalimantan could be Jokowi's dark legacy that would weigh heavily on whoever is elected as the next president in the upcoming 2024 elections. Time Magazine also raised the issue in its article titled 'Indonesia's President Joko Widodo Once Symbolized Democratic Hope – His Plan for a New Capital Represents a Darker Legacy'.