Tuesday, September 24

‘Be ready for challenges brought by relocation of Indonesian capital to East Kalimantan’

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KUCHING: Sarawak must be ready to accept challenges that it may face once Indonesia relocates its capital from Jakarta to East Kalimantan.

Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Masing

Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Masing said these challenges would include issues concerning security.

“We have a 1,000km Sarawak-Kalimantan border which we must protect and as such, a border highway must be constructed because we never know what will happen in the future,” he told The Borneo Post when contacted yesterday.

He pointed out that although Sarawak might have the best relationship with Indonesian president Joko Widodo, no one could predict ‘what would happen tomorrow’.

Masing, who is also Minister of Infrastructure and Ports Development, thus called upon the federal government to provide the necessary funds for the construction of the border highway.

“The federal government must view accessibility beyond transportation and we should look at this border highway for our security,” he stressed.

He also opined that the relocation of Indonesia’s capital would not be welcomed by environmental groups.

“One of the reasons Jokowi wants to move the capital from Jakarta to East Kalimantan is over-population and that the city of Jakarta is sinking, which in the long run will endanger the lives of 10 million human beings.

“But there are environmentalist groups who will be hostile to such a move because it would endanger the wildlife living within the new site.”

“These groups do not mind that there are ten million people who could be in serious trouble if they don’t move to a new site which is more suitable as the new capital of Indonesia,” he said.

He said there are reports that proper environmental studies are being carried out on the relocation to ensure that environmental disturbances are minimised.

“The non-governmental organisations must be able to balance human needs with that of the
wildlife.”

Widodo on Monday announced Indonesia’s plans to move its capital to Borneo Island from Jakarta which would start its relocation in 2024.

The new capital would be located in Borneo’s East Kalimantan province, near the existing Samarinda City and the port city of Balikpapan.