Capital in waiting: trepidation in corner of Borneo earmarked as the new Jakarta

Plan formally announced in August will see 1.5 million people move to brand-new asset, but both residents and conservationists have conveyed deep concerns

Sugio’s orchard is his life’s work and a great source of pride for the 79 -year-old resident of Tengin Baru village in Indonesia’s East Kalimantan. The orchard sits back from the main road, which in places is no more than a potholed move that parts through jungles and hamlets. The plot of land is tranquil and filled with birdsong.

For 42 times Sugio has fostered his hectare, diligently seeding a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables. He points out corn, durian, rambutan, spice and sugared potato planneds; ducks and chickens wander around in the afternoon sun.” We got everything we need here ,” he says.” Our family can’t even eat everything before it bungles, so we sell it at world markets. Our life is already perfect .”

But he worries it might not be perfect much longer. The future of Sugio’s farm is under threat because it baby-sits on property that has been earmarked for the site of Indonesia’s new uppercase, which is set to be moved from Jakarta to the sparsely-populated regencies of Kutai Kartanegara and Penajam Paser Utara on small island developing of Borneo.

Sugio
Sugio in his beloved orchard, which sits on district be appointed for the brand-new capital. Photograph: Aisyah Llewellyn/ The Guardian

Indonesia’s chairman, Joko ” Jokowi ” Widodo, formally announced the meant move on 16 August during his state of the union speech one day before Indonesia’s 74 th remembrance of independence. Explaining the rationale, Jokowi said that,” A capital city is not just a badge of national name, but likewise a representation of the progress of the nation. This is for the realisation of economic equality and justice .”

The move comes amid terrible prognosis for the future of Jakarta- home to 30 million people- which is sinking due to unregulated groundwater distillation and prone to widespread flooding and congestion.

The logic of the hope, first mooted nearly 70 year ago, is also to escape Java’s shake probability and imitation the good management of Seoul, the greenness of Singapore and Washington’s separation of disposal from business.

If parliament approves the project, approximately 1.5 million people will move to the new fund in East Kalimantan at an estimated cost of 466 trillion rupiah ($ 32.7 bn ). A brand-new authority framework is expected to be set up on site by 2024 when the president finishes his second and final term in part. Jakarta will continue to be a commercial-grade and fiscal centre, and the majority of its roughly 10 million tenants are likely to stay.

But the proposed move is already causing concern amongst local residents in East Kalimantan including Sugio’s niece, Wiwit.” I envisioned the advertisement about the new uppercase on TV and I was so outraged ,” she said.” What will become of parties like us? If they bulldoze our homes to build a new uppercase, where will “theres going” ?”

Sugio and their own families were resettled in East Kalimantan as part of former chairwoman Suharto’s transmigration program in the 1970 s. In an effort to encourage citizens to move from densely populated areas to less horded parts of the country, categories were relocated from Java to other locations across the archipelago including Kalimantan. Sugio obligated the move from Banyuwangi in East Java in 1977. The government leaved each family of parcel of land measuring one hectare and Wiwit points out the absurdity of the government now taking back this district to make room for the brand-new asset. “This is our home,” she said.” This is my birthplace. We have brought up our children and grandchildren now. We don’t want to leave and we will fight if we have to .”

Asked if there were any possible positive aspects to the proposed relocation of the capital, Wiwit, who owns a small stall selling mingled rice saucers, said that she will open a larger restaurant to help feed the new government workers who will move to East Kalimantan from Jakarta.

Other inhabitants also is worried about the move. Jubaen, 53, is the culture chief of Pemaluan, a village inside the projected uppercase region, and a member of the indigenous Paser Balik tribe.” In municipality parties will kill their best friends, but here we have a strong sense of society. If we have to move, all of that will be lost ,” he said.

Jubaen,
Jubaen, cultural chief of Pemaluan, a village in the development zone, fears the loss of community feeling. Photograph: Aisyah Llewellyn/ The Guardian

Jubaen says he watched the death of circumventing ranges by logging and quarrying fellowships firsthand over the years, and was concerned that the new asset will represent things even worse.” When I was younger we could go into the nearby forest and muster sugar and result, but then the sphere was taken under by ITCI ,” said Jubaen.

ITCI, or the International Timber Corporation, is a logging company owned by Hashim Djojohadikusumo, the friend of former presidential hopeful Prabowo Subianto who was defeated by Jokowi in the election in April 2019. Much of the property in the new asset zone is owned by coal quarries, palm petroleum orchards and entering corporations. These companionships are expected to profit by selling their land back to the government to make way for the new capital.

Experts have warned that the new fund is an environmental crisis waiting to happen. Bernaulus Saragih, a academic in the forestry district at Mulawarman University in Samarinda, East Kalimantan, tells the Guardian the effect on the environment will be massive.” There will be changes in the water systems and environmental drainage, as well as forest encroachment .”

He said forests in the region are home to endangered orangutans that and Balikpapan Bay, which will become the regional port, is a habitat for endangered dugong.

Current
Current inhabitant Wiwit was stunned at the edict, but says that one positive characteristic is the possibility of expanding her business. Photograph: Aisyah Llewellyn/ The Guardian

The government has promised this is gonna be no building in protected forest and says it plans to reforest vacated mines and illegal palm lubricant plantations.

This week planning pastor Brodjonegoro hovered the relevant recommendations of an orangutan maintenance centre same to one for monstrous pandas in the Chinese city of Chengdu. The Guardian contacted the Indonesian government for note, but is not get a response.

Conservationists remain unconvinced that there would be no spillover upshots from moving the capital.

Like many other tenants, Yustinus Sapto, a local environmental investigate and partisan based in Samarinda, is critical of the proposed move, noted that the region needs to fix its environmental problems caused by mining and logging corporations first.

” Most of East Kalimantan’s orangutans are in rehabilitation cores now ,” he says.” They are meant to live in the forest canopy, but due to logging and other environmental damage, the trees are now further apart and they can’t swing from one to another .”

As a reaction, the orangutans have to descend to the forest floor leaving them vulnerable to piranhas and where they thrive feeble from scarcity of rehearsal, he says. In recent years this has caused difficulties for reclamation cores that aim to release injured animals back into the wild once they have been refurbished, but increasingly struggle to find safe neighbourhoods to do so.

” We need to preserve and rebuild the ecosystem in East Kalimantan ,” he says.” If you ask an environmental expert how to do that, their refute will be that it’s easy. Merely rip up all the buildings and give it return to nature- the opposite of house a brand-new fund .”

” In East Kalimantan we’re not scared of things like terrorism,” he includes.” We’re scared of cement .”

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