Indonesian future capital proposal

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Locations of proposed new capital of Indonesia.

A proposal to move the Indonesian capital city from Jakarta to other locations has been discussed since the Soekarno presidency, and even earlier during Dutch colonial era. In fact, in early 20th century there was an effort by Dutch East Indies government to relocate the capital from Batavia (colonial Jakarta) to Bandung.[1] In 2010s, the idea to relocate the national capital or administrative center has been revisited, mainly because of Jakarta's environmental degradation and overpopulation problems.[2][3] In 2017, Palangkaraya was mentioned as a potential alternative.[4]

The business sector however, has expressed some mixed reactions, with some business voiced against the move. While some business expressed their willingness to support government's decision, Indonesian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Kadin) an influential business lobby group, is worried by the idea, arguing that businesses — most with headquarters in Jakarta — need to consult and lobby the government on a regular basis. Thus the move would be inconvenient, and possibly costly for businesses.[5]


Early history[edit]

In Indonesian history, there has been examples of the transfer of capital practices. The capital of the 7th to 13th century Srivijaya empire, for example is believed has been moved several times with locations shifting between Palembang, Central Java, and Jambi. The Medang Mataram kingdom for example, is also known to move its court several times, such as the capital in Mataram area in Prambanan Plain in the 9th century, and later circa 10th century moved to East Java, somewhere in Brantas River valley.[6]:87:128 The idea to separate the commercial trading hub with royal capital, has been demonstrated during 13th century Majapahit empire. The major trading ports were located in coastal cities of Hujung Galuh (modern Sidoarjo and Surabaya) and the port of Tuban, while the royal capital, the ceremonial center of politics and administration, was located inland in Trowulan.[7]

The 17th century Javanese Mataram Sultanate is also known has moved its capital several times; from Kotagede to Kartasura, and later to Surakarta and Yogyakarta.

Colonial era[edit]

Bandung laid as a well-planned city, set as the new capital of the Dutch East Indies.

The Dutch colonial settlement of Batavia was established in 1621.[8] Initially, it was a European-styled walled city crisscrossed by Dutch style canals located in low-lying coastal swamp area. The poor sanitation and poor water drain system has made the city unhealthy, infested with malaria, cholera and dysentry. In 1808, Daendels decided to quit the by-then dilapidated and unhealthy Old Town. A new town center was subsequently built further to the south, near the estate of Weltevreden. Batavia thereby became a city with two centers: Kota as the hub of business, where the offices and warehouses of shipping and trading companies were located; while Weltevreden became the new home for the government, military, and shops. These two centers were connected by the Molenvliet Canal and a road (now Gajah Mada Road) that ran alongside the waterway.[9]

In early 20th century there was an effort by Dutch East Indies government to relocate the capital from Batavia to Bandung. The idea was to separate the busy trading port or the commercial center (Batavia) from the new administrative and political center (Bandung). By 1920s the plan to transfer the capital to Bandung was underway. As the city began to laid the masterplan of a well-planned new city, numbers of government buildings were constructed, such as Gedung Sate that was planned as the colonial administrative center of Dutch East Indies. The plan however, was failed due to the Great Depression and the outbreak of the Second World War.[1]

Republic era[edit]

Monas stands in the center of Merdeka square, in the heart of the national capital of Jakarta. Most of Jakarta's landmarks and monuments were built during the Soekarno era.

During Indonesian struggle for independence (1945-1949), the capital of the republic has been moved several times — prompted by political and military emergency — as the seat of the republic in exile during wartime. The capital moved from Jakarta to Yogyakarta (1946-1948) and then to Bukittinggi (1948-1949) as the seat of Emergency Government of the Republic of Indonesia.[10] By 1949, the national capital of the republic was returned to Jakarta.

During Soekarno's presidency, Jakarta was established and developed as the capital of the new republic. In 1957, Soekarno laid the foundation and street grid layout of Palangkaraya as a new planned capital city of Central Kalimantan province. Soekarno however, foresee the new city as the possible new national capital in the future. The vast available area and its geographic location in the center of the archipelago has become the main advantage of the city. Nevertheless, Soekarno seems to favour Jakarta instead. In the late 1950s to first half of 1960s, he filled Jakarta with numbers of monuments and statues. Numbers of monumental projects were conceived, planned and initiated during his administration, including Monumen Nasional, Istiqlal mosque, DPR/MPR Building, and Gelora Bung Karno stadium. Soekarno also filled Jakarta with nationalistic monuments and statues, including Selamat Datang Monument, Pemuda Monument at Senayan, Dirgantara Monument at Pancoran, and Irian Jaya Liberation Monument at Lapangan Banteng. Although many of this projects were completed later in his successor era (Suharto administration), Soekarno is credited for shaping Jakarta's monuments and landmarks. He desired Jakarta to be the beacon of a powerful new nation.[11]

In 1966, Jakarta was granted its official status as DKI (Daerah Khusus Ibukota) Djakarta, or the Special Capital Region. It promoted the rate of development of government office buildings and foreign embassies. Rapid development created the need for a master plan in order to regulate Jakarta's growth. Since 1966, Jakarta has steadily grown into a modern metropolis.[12]

During the Suharto's highly centralized New Order regime, Jakarta was further established as the political and economic core of the nation. Prompted with rapid development and urbanisation, Jakarta attracted large numbers of new settlers from all over the archipelago, with majority came from rural Javanese towns. High rise buildings sprung up, especially in Jakarta's commercial and financial centers along Thamrin, Sudirman and Kuningan avenues. As the result, since 1970s the population of Jakarta spiked tremendously, and spilled to areas surrounding the capital. The Jabodetabek or Greater Jakarta region has become the largest and the most densely populated urban agglomeration in Southeast Asia. The massive overpopulation, coupled with lack of urban infrastructures, lack of public transportation facilities, the over-extraction of ground water, the encroachment of urban areas replacing open green spaces, and the spread of slums areas within the city, the gridlock traffics and poor water drainage systems; all of these has led to ecological degradation of the city. As the ground water extracted, the city slowly sunken lower, in fact parts of Northern Jakarta are virtually below the sea level, and regularly suffers flooding. Jakarta suffered massive flood in 2007, and again in 2013. These urban planning failure and environmental calamities, has prompted the proposition to relieves Jakarta by reviving the idea to relocate the political and administrative center elsewhere.

In 2010, the debate continued about the creation of a new capital city that would be separated from the urban, economic and commercial center of the country. Former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono supports the idea to create a new political and administrative center of Indonesia, due to Jakarta's environmental and overpopulation problems.[2][3]

Bandung, the planned capital of Dutch colonial era however, was ruled out, since the capital of West Java province itself is currently overpopulated and suffering ecological breakdown.

In April 2017, Joko Widodo administration contemplated about the idea to move the capital from Jakarta. The government plans to conclude assessing potential alternative cities that suitable to become Indonesia's new capital by the end of 2017. According to an official from National Development Planning Board (Bappenas), that the government determined to move the Indonesian capital out of Java, with Palangkaraya in Central Kalimantan was one of the options.[13]

The three alternatives[edit]

There are three major alternative approach about the new capital proposal:[14]

  1. Move the national capital altogether by creating a completely new planned city, similar to the way that Brazil moved its capital from Rio de Janeiro to Brasilia, a planned city, in 1960.
  2. Create a separate administrative center and keep Jakarta as the official capital, in same fashion like Malaysia moved the federal administrative center to Putrajaya.
  3. Keep Jakarta as both capital and administrative center,[15] just like Tokyo for Japan.

Proposed new capitals[edit]

Since the idea was launched, numbers of provincial regional governments, governors and regents, has expressed their interest to be the host of the new capital. These are some options on the approach to create a new national capital:

New capital city[edit]

Palangkaraya is one of the cities proposed to be the new national capital.

If the first option to create a completely new capital away from Jakarta would be chosen, then the island of Kalimantan is considered as a suitable location. The island is vast and away from Indonesian tectonic convergent boundary, which means it is relatively safe from earthquake and volcanic eruption. The suggested locations include:

New administrative center[edit]

If Jakarta is kept as the official capital, and the administrative centers would be moved to other location not far from Jakarta, the suggested locations include:

  • Jonggol, West Java. Dubbed as the most realistic option to move the capital city, Jonggol is located just 40 kilometres southeast from Jakarta, and has become a planned future capital of Indonesia since the era of Soeharto presidency.[23] Jonggol is located in the province of West Java, a neighbouring province of Jakarta.
  • Karawang, West Java, located about 60 kilometres east of Jakarta.[24]
  • Kertajati, Majalengka Regency, West Java. Located about 200 kilometres east of Jakarta and 40 kilometres west of Cirebon. The proposed planned capital will be connected to planned West Java new airport, Java railways and Trans-Java toll road.[25]
  • Maja, Lebak Regency, Banten. Located about 60 kilometres west of Jakarta. Most of Maja lands are already acquired by government owned Badan Penyehatan Perbankan Nasional (BPPN).[26]
  • Jakarta Bay, North Jakarta. This plan is actually do not move the capital away from Jakarta, but adding lands north of Jakarta by reclaiming new islands in Jakarta Bay. In 2013, Joko Widodo, then Governor of Jakarta, once proposed to move the administrative center of Indonesia to the planned future reclamated islands in Jakarta Bay. This plan is inline with the planned National Capital Integrated Coastal Development; the new administrative district will be located on Garuda bird-shaped island planned to be built on Jakarta Bay.[27]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Dino Fanara (2006). Angel of the East Indies: Biography of the Van Dooremolen Family. iUniverse. p. 55. ISBN 9780595860449. 
  2. ^ a b "Tiru Malaysia, SBY Dukung Pemindahan Ibukota". 
  3. ^ a b "SBY: Mari Lanjutkan Ide Membangun Ibukota Baru". 
  4. ^ a b Jewel Topsfield; Karuni Rompies (13 April 2017). "Indonesia's capital Jakarta is so congested, government might move it to Borneo". Sydney Morning Herald. 
  5. ^ "Should Indonesia Move Its Capital?". The Jakarta Globe. 
  6. ^ Cœdès, George (1968). The Indianized states of Southeast Asia. University of Hawaii Press. ISBN 9780824803681. 
  7. ^ Ma Huan; JVG Mills (1970). "Ying-yai Sheng-lan, The Overall Survey of the Ocean's Shores" (PDF). pp. 86–97 (Country of Chao–Wa). 
  8. ^ "Batavia". De VOCsite (in Dutch). de VOCsite. 2002–2012. Retrieved 27 November 2012. 
  9. ^ Gunawan Tjahjono, ed. (1998). Architecture. Indonesian Heritage. 6. Singapore: Archipelago Press. p. 109. ISBN 981-3018-30-5. 
  10. ^ Kahin, Audrey (1999). Rebellion to Integration: West Sumatra and the Indonesian Polity. Amsterdam University Press. ISBN 90-5356-395-4. 
  11. ^ Silver, Christopher (2007). Planning the Megacity: Jakarta in the Twentieth Century - Planning, History and Environment Series. Routledge. p. 101. ISBN 9781135991227. 
  12. ^ "History of Jakarta". 
  13. ^ "Indonesia studies new sites for capital city". The Jakarta Post. Jakarta. 10 April 2017. 
  14. ^ VIVAnews - Pendapat Tujuh Pakar Soal Pemindahan Ibukota
  15. ^ Jakarta Globe - Moving Indonesia's Capital ‘No Help to Jakarta’
  16. ^ a b Kota-kota yang Diusulkan Jadi Ibukota | koran terbaru – berita seputar indonesia
  17. ^ "Pangkalan Bun Dan Sampit Cocok Jadi Ibu Kota Negara". Borneo News (in Indonesian). 31 March 2015. 
  18. ^ Elin Yunita Kristanti (28 July 2010). "Aria Bima Pilih Pontianak Gantikan Jakarta, Kata dia, Pontianak berada di tengah wilayah RI, paku buminya Indonesia". Viva (in Indonesian). 
  19. ^ Gubernur: Kaltim siap menjadi ibukota negara
  20. ^ Kaltim Siap Gantikan Jakarta Jadi Ibu Kota
  21. ^
  22. ^ Palembang Ikut Diusulkan Jadi Pengganti Jakarta,
  23. ^ Tempointeraktif.Com - Pemindahan Ibu Kota ke Jonggol Lebih Realistis
  24. ^ VIVAnews - Pemindahan Ibukota: Pakar ITB: Jonggol & Karawang Bukan Jawaban
  25. ^ "Kertajati, Usulan Terkini Ibu Kota Baru". Republika (in Indonesian). 20 January 2013. Retrieved 11 November 2014. 
  26. ^ "Lebak Diusulkan Calon Ibu Kota RI". Warta Kota (in Indonesian). 30 January 2013. 
  27. ^ Hery H Winarno (20 April 2016). "Cerita Jokowi ingin pindahkan Ibu Kota di pulau reklamasi". Merdeka (in Indonesian).