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Sunk Jakarta rushes Jokowi to build USD33 billion “Silicon Valley” in Kalimantan Timur

Jakarta is too burdened and sinking 12cm per year. Jokowi instructed (his cabinet) to speed up a new project in Kalimantan Timur (the island of Borneo) to be the new Indonesia’s capital city. It will be modeled on “Silicon Valley” to host tech and creative companies, besides relocating government offices. The project worth USD33 billion project (RM136.72 billion).

“The new city will be dotted with world-class educational institutions, modern hospitals, botanical parks and backed by a green transportation system with only electric vehicles”, Jokowi said.

In August 2019, the president announced that the government planned to move the administrative capital by 2024 to reduce the burden on congested and polluted Jakarta. The time period was a year earlier than the government’s initial expectations and Widodo said he also ordered the construction of basic infrastructure to begin this year.

According to a government statement, he visited the new city for two days, by observing the construction site of the new palace from a helicopter.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo stands during his visit to an area, planned to be the location of Indonesia's new capital, at East Kalimantan province, Indonesia in December 2019. © Reuters
Indonesian President Joko Widodo stands during his visit to an area, planned to be the location of Indonesia’s new capital, East Kalimantan province, Indonesia in December 2019. © Reuters

Indonesia’s capital Jakarta is still sinking by 12 centimeters (4.7 inches) per year. The city that hosts 10 million people on Java island, suffers from over-extraction of groundwater which has significantly sunk Jakarta and contributed to floods. Extraction of groundwater in Jakarta over the years has caused layers of rock and sediment to slowly pancake on top of each other, causing parts of the city to sink.

Construction of a state palace and other buildings was initially set to start by 2021, along with upgrades of airports, seaports, and the building of access roads in the forested area earmarked for transformation into a new smart city.

Civil servants were due to start moving by 2024, which should mark the final year of Widodo’s second term in office.

“All these processes, including the main design, I hope can be completed in six months. Then, we can clean up the land and build basic infrastructure,” he said. – Reuters.

As authorities struggle to reopen Southeast Asia’s biggest economy, their energies have increasingly been consumed in battling the spiraling epidemic, which has caused more than 6,200 deaths, the region’s highest tally.

Normally, such a big project should bring considerable positive ripple effects for the economy, but disbursing the government’s coronavirus stimulus response appeared more urgent now, said Wellian Wiranto, an economist at OCBC Bank.

The advisory for this project lists SoftBank’s chief executive Masayoshi Son, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed al Nahyan.

The Indonesian capital of Jakarta is home to 10 million people but it is also one of the fastest-sinking cities in the world. If this goes unchecked, parts of the megacity could be entirely submerged by 2050, say researchers.

The project set to be completed by 2023.

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