What is the name of Indonesia's projected new capital city?
Jakarta, the capital and largest city of Indonesia, lying on the northwest coast of Java, is sinking. It is doing so at a rate of almost 17 cm (6.7 inches) per year, which makes it one of the fastest-sinking capitals in the world.
As part of an action programme, in 2019 the Indonesian government announced plans for a brand-new capital to be located in East Kalimantan; in 2022 it announced the name of the new capital: Nusantara. Three things struck commentators as odd.
First why build a new one? Indonesia’s Planning Minister claimed that "the new capital has a central function and is a symbol of the identity of the nation, as well as a new centre of economic gravity". Not everyone is convinced: why not go for one of the existing provincial capitals in Indonesia such as Surabaya or Medan?
Second, why locate it on the island of Borneo? The idea of building a new capital 1,300km (800 miles) away from Java seemed hard to justify. Critics have argued that the construction of the new city will lead to the expansion of palm-oil plantations and logging in an area rich in diverse wildlife and lush rainforests. Groups representing the indigenous people of Borneo have also voiced concerns, saying that their environment and culture could be endangered by the move.
Third, why the name? On social media some have said that the new name could prove confusing because “Nusantara” is an old Javanese term used in Indonesia to refer to the archipelago nation as a whole.