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New Indonesia capital will benefit Borneo states: Anwar

CNA – The development of Indonesia’s new planned capital Nusantara in eastern Kalimantan will benefit Malaysia’s Borneo states, Sabah and Sarawak, said Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim yesterday.

Speaking at a press conference on the second day of his official visit to Indonesia, Anwar said Malaysia plans to take a more positive and aggressive effort in the development of Nusantara.

Anwar met Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo at the presidential palace in Bogor, West Java during his first official overseas visit since assuming office in November.

The two leaders witnessed the handing over of 11 letters of intent (LOIs) from Malaysia to Indonesia on its participation in the development of Nusantara.

The LOIs were signed by 10 Malaysian companies.

According to Anwar, Malaysia is keen on the development of Nusantara because it has interests in it, given the new capital’s regional economic importance and proximity to the two Borneo states.

Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim and Indonesian President Joko Widodo at the presidential palace in Bogor, West Java, Indonesia. PHOTO: AP
Indonesian President Joko Widodo and Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim ride a golf cart during their meeting at the presidential palace in Bogor. PHOTO: AP

“We take a positive approach to find a way so that the growth of the archipelago nation’s capital will also benefit the region which includes Sarawak and Sabah,” said Anwar.

Widodo welcomed the interest shown by Malaysian investors in developing Indonesia’s new capital.

“Eleven letters of intent have been signed by the Malaysian private sector and handed over to the New Capital Authority involving areas such as electronics, health, waste management, construction and property,” said the president, popularly known as Jokowi.

The first phase of the development of Nusantara involves the construction of the presidential palace, a few government ministries and basic infrastructures such as roads and housing.

The phase is scheduled for completion by 2024 while the final phase of Nusantara’s development is targetted to be completed by the country’s centennial in 2045.

During the meeting yesterday, the two leaders also discussed long-outstanding bilateral issues such as the protection of Indonesian migrant workers in Malaysia, land demarcation and maritime border issues as well as the two countries’ position on the discrimination against palm oil by the European Union (EU).

Widodo and Anwar also agreed to continue working together in strengthening of which Indonesia is this year’s chair. “We agree that ASEAN should be able to play a central role in making the Indo-Pacific region peaceful, prosperous and stable,” said Jokowi.

He also said both Indonesia and Malaysia share the same view on the importance of implementing the Five-Point Consensus to end violence in Myanmar.

The consensus was adopted in Jakarta in April 2021 following the military coup in Myanmar in February 2021.

“We agreed to urge the Myanmar military junta to implement the Five-Point Consensus,” said Jokowi on his agreement with Anwar on the Myanmar issue.

Anwar arrived in Jakarta for his two-day visit to Indonesia on Sunday, where he also witnessed the signing of several memorandums of understanding (MoUs). 

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