Indonesia's new capital in Kalimantan will be named Nusantara.


National Development Planning Minister Suharso Monoarfa announced Monday at a government meeting on the relocation of Indonesia's capital that the new capital, in the southeast of the island of Kalimantan, will be named Nusantara.

"I just received a direct confirmation from the president (Joko Widodo) on Friday, and he said the new capital is named Nusantara," said the minister.

Monoarfa explained that the president chose the name because it is an iconic name, by which the Indonesian archipelago has been known since ancient times.

"The reason is that Nusantara has been known for a long time," he continued. "And it is iconic internationally, simple and describes our archipelago of the Republic of Indonesia, and I think we all agree with the name Nusantara."

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Some members of the meeting argued that the name Nusantara might cause confusion as it is a word that has been used to refer to the country itself. Monoarfa, however, insisted that they had consulted linguists and historians, after which they submitted about 80 suggested names to the president, including Negara Jaya, Nusantara Jaya, and Nusa Karya.

It is also yet to be decided whether the new capital will hold a provincial or city status, with some saying it should hold the former.

The plan to move the capital from the sinking Jakarta was announced in 2019, with a budget of nearly $32 billion (Rp 466 trillion) earmarked so far. The project, however, was put to a halt in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic that hit the country in early 2020. The move is set to continue in two years, with its completion date being on August 17, 2024, Indonesia's Independence Day. 

Discussion about the new capital continued in 2021, with renowned Balinese sculptor Nyoman Nuarta named the state palace designer with his Garuda-inspired design following an open contest. Aside from the Javan hawk-eagle itself (which was adapted as Indonesia's national emblem), Garuda is a mythical gold-winged bird-like creature of Hindu origin.

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The new capital will be located in East Kalimantan in hopes that the island as a whole sees more development. President Jokowi asserted that the new capital is designed to be a sustainable, smart and forest city in which environmental restoration and protection are taken into account.

The planned capital is expected to serve as the country's new administrative center. Meanwhile, Jakarta, home to more than 10 million people, will remain to be the country's business and economic center. 



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