Indonesia picks East Kalimantan province for new capital: media

JAKARTA (Reuters) - Indonesia will build a new capital in the province of East Kalimantan on Borneo island, media cited land planning minister Sofyan Djalil as saying on Thursday.

President Joko Widodo last week formally proposed to parliament moving the capital from Jakarta, a crowded, polluted city of 10 million people, to somewhere in Kalimantan.

The Indonesian side of Borneo has five provinces, known for their rainforests, orangutans and coal reserves.

“Yes, East Kalimantan, but we don’t know where specifically,” Djalil was cited as saying by news website, when asked it East Kalimantan had been selected as the site of the new capital.

The government has 3,000-hectare (7,413 acres) of land in the province for the first stage of development, Djalil told media.

Media has speculated Widodo would pick East Kalimantan’s Bukit Soeharto area or the town of Samboja for the new center of administration.

Bambang Brodjonegoro, the head of the national development planning agency, Bappenas, recently said that for better connectivity in the archipelago, the capital must be a port city.

Kennedy Simanjuntak, deputy chief of Bappenas, asked to confirm Djalil’s comment, said: “There is no decision yet by the government on the new location of the capital”.

Moving the capital would cost about $33 billion, a price tag that includes new government offices and homes for about 1.5 million civil servants expected to pack up and start moving by 2024, according to Bappenas.

Reporting by Tabita Diela and Gayatri Suroyo; Editing by Robert Birsel