Awaiting people’s participation in new capital city-related decision

"This move is for 'Indonesia Maju' (Onward Indonesia) Vision. Long live Indonesia," Jokowi said.

The Indonesian Government's decision to relocate the country's capital city from Jakarta to East Kalimantan Province has triggered pros and cons in society.

For Indonesians who disagree with the central government's decision argue that instead of going ahead with this capital city relocation, the Joko Widodo-Ma'ruf Amin administration must first resolve so many crucial problems currently gripping Indonesia.

The crucial problems that demand the government's solutions are, among others, high youth unemployment rate, economic growth getting stuck at around five percent, high prevalence of stunting, and the Healthcare and Social Security Agency's financial difficulty.

Outspoken political analyst Rocky Gerung, for instance, questioned the government's decision when speaking at TV One news channel's Indonesia Lawyers' Club program on Tuesday night.

Gerung argued that the capital city relocation would threaten the protected environment of Kalimantan Island which has globally known as the lung of the earth.

Apart from the government's argument that Indonesia's new capital city would be designed to be a green city, Rocky Gerung opined that it would be against environmental ethics.

The term "environmental ethics" is defined by Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2015) as "the discipline in philosophy that studies the moral relationship of human beings to, and also the value and moral status of the environment and its non-human contents."

Due to the significance of this capital city relocation for the entire nation, former Jakarta Deputy Governor and former vice presidential candidate, Sandiaga Uno, argued that the people at large need to get engaged in the government's decision making process.

To this end, Uno was quoted by Republika as proposing a referendum for knowing whether or not majority of the Indonesian people agree with this decision because moving the country's capital city to Kalimantan Island was not "crucial".

Instead, for the government and political elites who support this decision, relocating the capital city to Kalimantan, which is regarded as the center of the Indonesian archipelago, would boost regional developments outside densely-populated island of Java.

President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) himself had officially announced his decision in a state address that he delivered before members of parliament and VIP guests on August 16, 2019.

The new capital city would not only be a symbol and an identity of the country, but it would also represent the progress of the nation. Moving the capital city would also increase the equity and equality of the country's economic development, he said.

"This move is for 'Indonesia Maju' (Onward Indonesia) Vision. Long live Indonesia," he conveyed in his state address.

What the central government has decided gets appreciated and supported by regional leaders. Nunukan District Head Asmin Laura Hafid joins those who support this central government's decision though her district would likely not benefit much from it.

"Nunukan District will not gain optimum benefits from this capital city relocation but I support the decision," she told journalists.

In Jakarta, Minister of Agrarian Affairs and Spatial Planning/Head of the National Land Agency (BPN) Sofyan Djalil has revealed that the national capital will be moved to Kalimantan.

"It is East Kalimantan, but the specific location had yet to be named," Djalil remarked at the building of the Coordinating Ministry of Economic Affairs on Thursday.

Djalil explained that three thousand hectares of land will be required to build government offices under the first stage of development of the capital city.

Regarding this capital city relocation, West Kalimantan Governor Sutarmidji said his province would gain optimum benefits from President Joko Widodo's decision to relocate Indonesia's capital city from Jakarta to the island of Kalimantan.

He argued that West Kalimantan would gain optimum benefits from this capital city relocation owing to the existance of Kijing International Port. The seaport could support the inflow and outflow of goods for the new capital city.

The National Development Planning Agency (Bappenas) has pegged the total cost to move the state capital to reach nearly Rp466 trillion.

"Of the total cost of Rp466 trillion, the required state budget is only some Rp30.6 trillion," Brodjonegoro had remarked on June 15, 2019.

Apart from the amount of money the central government will spend for building this new capital city, and Jokowi's keenness to leave a legacy for this nation at the end of second leadership term (2024), the people need to get involved in his decision.

Thus, a referendum as suggested by Sandiaga Uno is a necessity that the government needs to consider if Jokowi really wants his legacy to be used by the next Indonesian leaders.

Source: ANTARA News

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