Jakarta. Former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, commonly known as SBY, said on Wednesday his party and all Indonesian people wanted to know how much money the government would spend to relocate the capital from Jakarta to East Kalimantan.
The Democratic Party chairman told the gathering of party members that he could understand if the government considered moving the capital because Jakarta had been too crowded, adding that he also shared the idea while in power.
"When the Democratic Party was in the government, I as president also once considered building a new administrative center," SBY said in a speech at the Jakarta Convention Center.
"Our concept was a bit different. The new capital that we were thinking about was to be located in West Java, about 1.5-hour trip from Jakarta heading east."
The capital relocation plan mirrored that of Malaysia, who moved the administrative center to Putra Jaya, near Kuala Lumpur. But after two years, the plan was dropped due to budget constraints, he said.
SBY, who served as president between 2004 and 2014, urged the government to present careful planning of the relocation and be transparent about the budget.
“How much will it cost? Where does the budget come from? Is it true that there is a plan to sell state assets and take foreign debts to fund this project?” he asked.
"We want to hear [answers]. I believe all Indonesian people also want to know about it. There are cases of some countries who have successfully relocated their capitals, while some others have failed. For sure we want this country to be successful in building the new capital.”
SBY warned that the 2020 state budget didn’t clearly mention the initial funding of the capital relocation, while the project would need a huge budget and a very long time to complete.
"Amid the gloomy outlook of the global economy and the many pressures on the Indonesian economy, the government’s plan and preparedness must be perfect. Relocating the capital and building a new one is a mega project that cannot fail,” he said.
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has decided to move the capital to a 180,000-hectare area in Kutai Kertanegara dan Penajam Paser Utara districts, East Kalimantan. Construction of basic infrastructures including roads, drainages and dams will commence next year.