Jakarta is sinking and President of Indonesia Joko Widodo has embarked on an audacious plan to relocate the capital city to a new place. Can the Indonesian president pull off what couldn’t be done by past presidents?
Jakarta is a city of many problems.
Home to more than 10 million people, the capital city has been sinking at a fast pace – land subsidence has been extreme in the northern part of the city, which has sunk 2.5m in 10 years.
Close to half of the city is below sea level, and flooding is a real threat with 13 rivers flowing through Jakarta. The crowded city also has a serious traffic congestion problem.
Widodo’s government seeks to move the capital off the island of Java.
While the new capital will reflect Indonesian cultural identity, Widodo also aims to create a modern, global and sustainable city with a geographically centralised location.
The city will also have proximity to the coast as well as minimum exposure to natural disasters.
Relocating Indonesia’s capital city to a new place is estimated to take about 10 years, based on similar endeavours in other parts of the world.
Locals seem to be sceptical about the government’s plans for relocation.
Having heard about it since the 1940s when the country won independence, citizens have expressed doubts about the ambitious plan. What may work in Widodo’s favour is his successful record in infrastructure building during his five years in office.
However, he may still need to overcome objections from the influential Javanese community against the plan to move the capital city off the Java Island.