After months of delay due to the pandemic, Indonesia is going forward with plans to transfer its capital to the island of Borneo in the first half of 2024.
Southeast Asia's largest economy proposes to relocate its capital from Jakarta to an area of 56,180 hectares in East Kalimantan province.
While the measure may seal President Joko Widodo's legacy in his final term in office, it has also raised environmental concerns about deforestation.
The move will expand economic activity outside of Java, Indonesia's most populated island, and close the income gap between it and the rest of the country. Java is home to about 60% of Indonesia's population and accounts for more than half of the country's GDP.
Photo credits: Authentic Indonesia
Kalimantan which is situated in Borneo holds an occupancy of 5.8 percent of Indonesia's population and an economy worth 8.2 percent.
Environmentalists have expressed concern about the potential risk for Kalimantan's rainforests as Borneo is home to endangered animals and has already lost 30% of its forests in just over four decades.
The loss has also been a result of the paper and pulp industry as well as palm oil plantations.
Indonesia would be the third country in Southeast Asia to transfer its capital cities, having considered the proposal for decades.
In 2003, the neighbouring country, Malaysia, had relocated its administrative capital to Putrajaya, while Myanmar had relocated its capital to Naypyidaw in 2006.