Indonesian presidential candidate Anies Baswedan is challenging the planned relocation of the country's capital from Jakarta to Nusantara. As reported by The Straits Times, Anies questions the wisdom of focusing development in one location, arguing it could breed additional inequalities across the nation.
Equitable Growth Across Indonesia
Baswedan advocates for a more balanced approach to growth. He envisions a plan where development is spread across Indonesia, boosting villages to small towns, and medium-sized cities to major urban centers. This stance, however, has highlighted a divergence of views among parties supporting him. The Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) is adamant that Jakarta remains the capital, while the National Awakening Party (PKB) prefers to focus on the forthcoming elections, adopting a wait-and-see approach.
The Nusantara Project
Indonesia's current president, Joko Widodo, announced the Nusantara project in 2019. This plan was initiated in response to overpopulation and sinking risks faced by Jakarta. The ambitious project, with a budget of Rp 466.9 trillion (S$40.3 billion), aims to inaugurate Nusantara as the new capital on Indonesia's Independence Day in 2024. However, the COVID-19 pandemic and investor uncertainty have caused delays.
Anies's Changing Stance
Interestingly, Anies's recent opposition to the Nusantara project contrasts his previous commitment. In March 2023, he pledged to carry out the relocation law passed by Parliament in January 2022. This law stipulates that the next president must oversee the development of the new capital. His promise to review the project if elected raises questions about its future and the nation's development trajectory.