International Asia No need for referendum to decide on Jakarta's fate, says analyst in...

No need for referendum to decide on Jakarta’s fate, says analyst in Indonesia

Since moving the capital city does not need constitutional changes, a referendum asking the whole country to decide on the fate of Jakarta is not needed.




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The relocation of the capital of Indonesia to Borneo Island is a hot topic in the country with many attacking the President and his government for the move.

But the latter is also getting support from various groups saying it is perfectly legal to move the capital city, as long as the Parliament in Indonesia backs the project.

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, which is also dismissed as a criticism from naysayers.

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The President of the Republic of Indonesia Joko Widodo has officially announced the North Penajam Paser and Kutai Kartanegara, in East Kalimantan, Borneo as the new location of the capital city of Indonesia.

President Jokowi also revealed the total funding needed to build a new capital city is IDR 466 trillion. It will come from the state budget, government cooperation with a public-private partnership, and private direct investment amongst others.

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.

An expert in constitutional law from Pancasila University, Muhammad Rullyandi, told the portal Republika the moving of the capital city was a political one.

It is decided by the president but it must have the support of the Indonesian Parliament. Thus, the idea of ​​a referendum is irrelevant, he said.

“In the study, it actually became irrelevant when there was an idea that we should ask for polls to all Indonesian people, by way of the referendum it was a different thing,” Rully said last Saturday, August 24.

He explained that the relocation of the capital will demand for approval from the Parliament because the country’s capital city is still Jakarta.

But a referendum is needed only if the country is amending the constitution. Since moving the capital city does not need constitutional changes, a referendum asking the whole country to decide on the fate of Jakarta is not needed.

Previously, DKI Jakarta Deputy Governor Sandiaga Salahuddin Uno proposed a referendum on the government’s plan to move the capital city. According to him, the community should have been involved in such a big plan.

On the other hand, the founder of Bhinneka Institute who is also a former spokesperson for the Jokowi-Maruf National Campaign Team (Presidential elections), Arya Sinulingga did not agree with Sandi’s proposal.

Arya said, there was no need for the relocation of the capital to go through a referendum.

“There is no need for the (transfer of capital city) to be done with a referendum. There are provisions for referendums but not for that.”

He also said Mr Sandi should handle his own business given the fact that there is no provision for a referendum for the matter.

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