East Kalimantan Gov. indicates 3 sites for new Indonesian capital

03, Sep. 2019

East Kalimantan Governor Isran Noor speaks about the possible locations of Indonesia’s new capital in Samarinda, the capital of the province on Borneo Island in an exclusive interview with NNA on Sept. 2.
East Kalimantan Governor Isran Noor speaks about the possible locations of Indonesia’s new capital in Samarinda, the capital of the province on Borneo Island in an exclusive interview with NNA on Sept. 2.

SAMARINDA, Indonesia, NNA – East Kalimantan Provincial Governor Isran Noor said Monday Indonesia’s new capital may be located in three sites between the two largest cities in the eastern province on Borneo Island.

In an exclusive interview with NNA, he specified three areas – Samboja District and Muara Jawa District in Kutai Kartanegara Regency, and Sepaku Semoi District in North Penajam Paser Utara Regency – that President Joko Widodo announced on Aug. 26 the new capital straddles.

The governor declined to comment on the possible relocation sites in detail as the central government is still considering the location for the new capital, for which the development cost is estimated at 466 trillion rupiah ($32.8 billion).

The central government plans to begin relevant infrastructure developments by the end of 2020 and targets to start moving the capital in 2024. It hopes to fund 19 percent of the total relocation cost from public expenditure, with public-private partnership investments covering the rest.

The three sites sit in between Balikpapan, the province’s economic center, and Samarinda, the provincial capital. Both cities have international airports and are a two-hour flight from Jakarta. A toll road that links the two cities is being constructed and is soon to be completed, the governor said.

The construction of a new road linking the airport and the heart of the city in Samarinda is also underway for scheduled completion in a year, in addition to an existing road. Balikpapan has port facilities for international trade, he added.

The tract of three sites in the eastern coastal region of the island totals over 180,000 hectares, and the local government can provide up to 250,000 hectares for the new capital, according to the governor.

In the world’s largest archipelago nation with a rich ethnic diversity, the majority of residents in East Kalimantan Province are migrants, even way back to the Dutch colonial era, with 35 percent of them from Java Island and 28 percent from Sulawesi Island, while the proportion of indigenous people is fairly small, according to the governor.

The native tribe of East Kalimantan, called the Kutai people, is also supportive to the capital relocation plan, he said.

Most of the planned relocation sites are publically owned, he said. In response to a rise in speculative buying of land in the vicinity of the new capital, the provincial government is drafting regulations on such purchases and will announce them soon.

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