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Analysis: Civil servants' bumpy road to new capital city

Jakarta Post - May 22, 2024

Tenggara Strategics, Jakarta – President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's ambition to relocate the national capital to Nusantara in East Kalimantan as his signature legacy will hinge on his success in holding a ceremony to mark Indonesia's independence anniversary on Aug. 17 in the new city. The major hurdle to the plan is moving thousands of civil servants to Nusantara in a relatively short time.

The presence of civil servants in the new capital is considered important to demonstrate that the relocation of the capital is making progress and moving on the right track. Besides, the civil servants will participate in the first Independence Day commemoration to be held in Nusantara.

President Jokowi has expressed his guarded optimism that Nusantara is ready to host the historic event, saying there is no issue around the city's physical development three months away from D-Day.

Nusantara Capital City Authority Head Bambang Susantono revealed that the state secretary, who is in charge of the Independence Day flag-raising ceremony, has invited 6,800 people, mostly civil servants, to attend the event. Bambang added that physical development of the new city has reached 74 percent of the target, with construction of hotels and healthcare and education facilities still underway.

Among other ways to prepare Nusantara as the new seat of power is to relocate some state and government institutions along with their bureaucracies from Jakarta to the city. Originally the relocation was to start in July, but the plan has been rescheduled to September because their residences are not ready yet.

The National Civil Service Agency (BKN) has released the list of public entities that will immediately move to Nusantara. They include 25 government bodies and 2,505 civil servants.

The first phase of the exodus would initially involve 179 government posts in 38 ministries and non-ministerial agencies, along with 11,916 civil servants. After recalculation, however, only between 1,740 and 3,072 civil servants will be relocated first.

For the civil servants' housing, the government has prepared 12 apartment towers that will be ready in July. These apartments will be allocated for those who will attend the Aug. 17 ceremony. Another 35 towers will be completed between November and December.

When asked about the government's big plan, civil servants in Jakarta have given mixed responses. Some expressed their concerns about the availability of public facilities to support their work and their own and their families' daily lives. Others, however, admit they have to comply with the government's order to relocate to Nusantara.

The government has arranged a set of incentives for those who agree to move early to Nusantara in the form of allowances and one-time promotions as President Jokowi himself has promised.

What we've heard

A government official involved in the preparations for the Independence Day commemoration in Nusantara said construction of supporting infrastructure in the new capital city, including a toll road and an airport, was being expedited.

Several sources within the Presidential Palace said continuation of the development project after the ceremony, however, is being discussed intensively given that the commitment of president-elect Prabowo Subianto to relocate his office to Nusantara and carrying on the megaproject is not yet solid.

The sources suggest that Prabowo is not entirely satisfied with the progress of the capital city development. Therefore, according to them, as president Prabowo will work mostly in Jakarta. He may ask his vice president, Gibran Rakabuming Raka, to work in Nusantara instead.

[This content is provided by Tenggara Strategics in collaboration with The Jakarta Post to serve the latest comprehensive and reliable analysis on Indonesia's political and business landscape.]

Source: https://www.thejakartapost.com/opinion/2024/05/22/analysis-civil-servants-bumpy-road-to-new-capital-city.htm