Indonesian minister announces name of new national capital in East Kalimantan

JAKARTA: Indonesia’s planned new capital in East Kalimantan will be called Nusantara, National Development Planning Minister Suharso Monoarfa said Monday (January 17th).

The name Nusantara, which means archipelago in Indonesian, was instructed and confirmed by the president, said Mr. Monoarfa.

“I just received confirmation and direct orders from the president, namely on Friday.

“He said the new capital is Nusantara,” Monoarfa said during a meeting with a special committee for establishing the new capital.

He added: “The reason is that Nusantara has been known for a long time. And it is internationally iconic, simple and describes our archipelago, the Republic of Indonesia. I believe we all agree with the name Nusantara,” he said.

It remains to be seen whether the new capital will be a province or a city.

In 2019, President Joko Widodo announced that the country’s capital would move from megacity Jakarta to the remote regency of Penajam Paser Utara and Kutai Kartanegara in East Kalimantan province.

This decision is considered necessary to save Jakarta which is sinking and congested and to develop Kalimantan as well as the eastern part of Indonesia, because most of the country’s economic activity is concentrated in Java, where the current capital is located.

Construction of the new 466 trillion rupiah ($32 billion) investment project was scheduled to start in 2020. However, the COVID-19 pandemic forced authorities to put the project on hold.

Talks about the new capital continued last year and renowned Balinese sculptor Nyoman Nuarta was announced as the designer of the state palace.

Mr Nuarta said on his Instagram account earlier this month that Mr Widodo had approved the final design inspired by the country’s mythological bird symbol, Garuda.

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