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    Minister announces name of new national capital in eastern Kalimantan

    JAKARTA (CNA) – Indonesia’s planned new capital in eastern Kalimantan will be named Nusantara, said National Development Planning Minister Suharso Monoarfa yesterday.

    The name Nusantara, meaning archipelago in Indonesian, was instructed and confirmed by the president, said Monoarfa.

    “I just received confirmation and direct orders from the president, namely on Friday.

    “He said the new capital is Nusantara,” Monoarfa said during a meeting with a special committee for the establishment of the new capital.

    He added, “The reason is because Nusantara has been known for a long time. And it is iconic internationally, simple and describes our archipelago, the Republic of Indonesia. I believe we all agree with the name Nusantara,” he said.

    Some members of the meeting said the name Nusantara could potentially be confusing since it is a word used to describe the country. There were some who suggested referring to the new capital as special administration Nusantara to avoid confusion.

    “This is not simple. So we can’t play around with the names,” representative from the Regional Representative Council (DPD) Agustin Teras Narang said.

    The minister revealed that they consulted linguists and historians, and submitted some 80 suggested names to the president, including Negara Jaya, Nusantara Jaya and Nusa Karya.

    An aerial view of the area around Samboja, Kutai Kartanegara, one of two locations proposed by the government for Indonesia’s new capital. PHOTO: AFP

    It has also yet to be decided whether the new capital will be a province or a city but the meeting said it should be equivalent to the provincial level.

    In 2019, President Joko Widodo announced that the country’s capital would move from megacity Jakarta to the remote regency of Penajam Paser Utara and Kutai Kartanegara in East Kalimantan province.

    The move is deemed necessary to save sinking and congested Jakarta and develop Kalimantan as well as the eastern part of Indonesia, since most of the economic activity in the country has been centred in Java where the current capital is.

    The construction of the USD32 billion new capital project was supposed to start in 2020. However, the COVID-19 pandemic forced authorities to put the project on hold.

    Discussion about the new capital continued last year and renowned Balinese sculptor Nyoman Nuarta was announced as the designer of the state palace.

    Nuarta said in his Instagram account earlier this month that President Widodo approved the final design inspired by the country’s emblem mythological bird Garuda.

    Design of state palace in new Indonesia capital is still under discussion, said the
    Planning Minister.

    Finance Minister Sri Mulyani and Minister of Public Works and Public Housing Basuki Hadimuljono visited the new capital site this month to inspect the preparations for
    the construction.

    The Parliament is expected to pass the draft law of the new capital this month so construction can soon start and the relocation can begin in 2024.

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