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Indonesia's Jokowi to relocate to new capital Nusantara ahead of Independence Day; reassures public of project's progress

Channel News Asia - June 4, 2024

Jakarta – Indonesian President Joko Widodo plans to move to the country's new capital, Nusantara (IKN), as early as the end of June, ahead of the anticipated inauguration of the city during the Independence Day celebrations on Aug 17.

This comes as he seeks to reassure the public on the development of the new capital amid the surprise resignation of Mr Bambang Susantono, head of the Nusantara Capital City Authority, along with his deputy, Mr Dhony Rahajoe.

The two technocrats were in charge of overseeing the development of the megaproject.

Minister of Public Works and Housing Basuki Hadimuljono told detikFinance on Monday (Jun 3) that Mr Widodo will relocate once clean water is available in the government offices and ministerial housing complexes.

"God willing, Mr. President will start working in the new capital city once the water supply is ready. On Jun 7, the water pump will arrive in Balikpapan, be installed, and hopefully, the installation will be completed by the end of June or early July," said Mr Basuki at the Presidential Palace Complex.

Balikpapan is the second most populous city in East Kalimantan, after the provincial capital Samarinda.

Mr Widodo on Monday stressed that Nusantara's development will continue hours after news broke of the two technocrats' resignations.

"The development of IKN will continue according to the shared vision that has been established," Mr Widodo wrote on Instagram.

On Tuesday, he reiterated that Nustantara is still "in the development process" and that it would be the "greenest capital in the world".

The government has been racing to build the infrastructure required for the relocation of the first batch of 12,000 civil servants this September. But the plan has been twice delayed and the resignations come amid a lack of private funding for the new capital.

Mr Widodo is currently on a working visit to Nusantara to inaugurate several projects, including schools such as Gunadarma University, Summarecon Al Azhar, and the Mentawir Nursery.

Mr Basuki said that the 62-year-old president would stay in the ministerial housing complex instead of a tent, where he has stayed before.

On the same day, Indonesian Minister of Transportation Budi Karya Sumadi informed local media that the IKN airport would be ready for operation on Aug 1.

Mr Budi Karya noted significant progress on the airport runway and terminal buildings compared to his last visit in April.

He also shared that the autonomous rail transit (ART) would be ready for testing in August. Additionally, the authority will test the country's first flying taxis in July.

Trials will be conducted at Samarinda Aji Pangeran Tumenggung Pranoto International Airport for a month.

The vehicles can carry five people, placing Indonesia alongside countries such as the United Arab Emirates, Slovakia, and Japan, which have begun similar tests.

Source: https://www.channelnewsasia.com/asia/indonesia-nusantara-joko-widodo-relocation-clean-water-housing-complex-airport-438531