On 18 January 2022, Indonesia’s House of Representatives passed a bill allowing for the relocation of the country’s capital from Jakarta to Borneo’s East Kalimantan Province. The day before the Undang-Undang Ibu Kota Negara—the IKN Law—was passed, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo announced that the new capital will be called “Nusantara”.

According to the IKN Law’s academic paper, a government-produced supporting document, the new capital will occupy more than 250,000 hectares—more than three times the size of Jakarta—and will accommodate up to 1.5 million new residents by 2045. The paper also argues that Jakarta is no longer suitable as a capital city because it is overpopulated, congested, polluted and sinking up to 10 centimetres every year. 

“This move is to equalise distribution—distribution in infrastructure, economy and social justice,” Jokowi said in a speech on 22 February, adding that Nusantara will comprise 70% green space, will offer public transit options for 80% of all transportation in the city, and will be 80% powered by “green energy”. 

Members only

Log in or

Join New Naratif as a member to continue reading

We are independent, ad-free and pro-democracy. Our operations are member-funded. Membership starts from just US$5/month! Alternatively, write to sponsorship@newnaratif.com to request a free sponsored membership. As a member, you are supporting fair payment of freelancers, and a movement for democracy and transnational community building in Southeast Asia.

Fadhilah is a researcher reading democratisation, discursive politics, and feminist methodology. Her personal research projects centre on the gendered aspects of democratic transitions and consolidations. When she is not working, she enjoys reading detective novels, writing fiction, and painting.

Sahnaz is a community organiser, researcher and freelance translator based in Indonesia. She spends most of her time reading, and is passionate about human rights, social movement, gender, literature and arts. She co-founded a book club called LiteraSEA focusing on Southeast Asian literature, with members based in Southeast Asia and beyond.

Ghina is a student and freelance illustrator based in DKI Jakarta. Her works are mainly concerned with Indonesian cultures and exploring various styles in digital art. Find her works on Instagram @konijnsate.