Reports say China is in the frontline for investment prospects in Indonesian President Joko (Jokowi) Widodo’s push for the establishment of a new capital city in Kalimantan, Borneo.
In early September, the Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs, Luhut Binsar Panjaitan, said China was interested in investing in the public transportation sector in the new capital city.
He said this after the meeting with the China Railways Construction Corporation (CRCC) in his office.
Road and other transportation infrastructure will need investment and with a population estimate of one million in 10 years and 1.5 million from then on, the city will need solid transportation infrastructure. This is what China is targeting.
But there are also talks the Chinese may get involved in other projects, such as offices and housing.
Nevertheless, urban planning expert Johnny Patta said the government should not build a new city at the expense of destroying forests to build a ‘Forest City’.
He said the government is planning to build a new city, bigger than the existing capital city, Jakarta. He told Deutch Weil Jakarta is built on 66 hektar but the government wants to build a new city which is three times bigger.
He asked whether that is necessary and whether the Rupiah466 trillion is also necessary? According to him, the country should find a different location to build a smaller administrative city.
He also said the project will definitely need foreign investment because of the scale and costs, questioning why the entire capital city has to move to Kalimantan.
Indonesia has decided to move its capital city from Jakarta, one of the oldest cities in Southeast Asia, to a safer location. But there are concerns of disruption of the ecosystem in the new location.
Jokowi last month officially announced that North Penajam Paser and Kutai Kartanegara, in East Kalimantan, Borneo would be the new location of the capital city of Indonesia.
However, critics are looming large, saying this is not the right time to move the capital city. Moreover, there are also those who are asking for a referendum on the transfer of the capital city to Borneo.
But experts argue there is no need for a referendum to move the capital city away from Java Island because it does not need constitutional changes. -/TISG