JAKARTA – Indonesian lawmakers have enacted legislation to move the country's capital from the most populous island of Java to the island of Kalimantan, which shares borders with Malaysia and Brunei. The move is a significant step forward in one of President Joko Widodo's most ambitious initiatives.
Former presidents have discussed the possibility of moving the capital city in the past. Due to a number of concerns such as excessive population density and land subsidence in Jakarta, which is home to more than 10 million people, the president, also known as Jokowi, pledged three years ago to relocate the capital city to the province of East Kalimantan.
Nusantara, the proposed capital's name, will be erected in East Kalimantan's Penajam Paser Utara and Kutai Kartanegara districts. It will cover around 256,000 hectares of land. President Jokowi chose the term Nusantara, which means "archipelago" in English, according to Minister for National Development Planning Suharso Monoarfa.
Indonesia, the world's fourth most populous country, is made up of 17,000 islands and home to 270 million people. "The national capital acts as a symbol of a country, demonstrating the nation's and state's identity," Minister Monoarfa said during a meeting with legislators at the House of Representatives on Tuesday.