Indonesia’s president has decided to move the capital of the world’s fourth most populous country away from the crowded main island of Java, but has yet to finalise a new location, the planning minister said on Monday.
President Joko Widodo’s decision comes less than two weeks after private pollsters said he had won an April 17 presidential election, although official results are not due until May 22. His challenger, Prabowo Subianto, has also claimed victory.
“The president chose to relocate the capital city to outside of Java, an important decision,” Minister Bambang Brodjonegoro told a news conference after a cabinet meeting.
Mr Brodjonegoro said the administration had yet to pick a new location, but was looking at the eastern side of the sprawling archipelago.
At the opening of his cabinet meeting, Mr Widodo stressed the need for new thinking about the future.
“We want to think in a visionary way for the progress of this country and moving the capital requires thorough and detailed preparation,” he said.
The current capital, Jakarta, is home to more than 10 million people, but around three times that many people live in the surrounding towns adding to the area’s severe congestion.
Mr Brodjonegoro put the annual economic loss due to traffic congestion in Jakarta at 100 trillion rupiah (£5.5 billion).