Head, deputy head of Indonesia’s new capital city authority resign, minister says

Head, deputy head of Indonesia’s new capital city authority resign, minister says
Head, deputy head of Indonesia’s new capital city authority resign, minister says

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Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - The head and deputy head of Indonesia’s new capital city authority, who oversee the US$32 billion project, have resigned, the state secretariat minister said on Monday. — AFP pic

JAKARTA, June 3 — The head and deputy head of Indonesia’s new capital city authority, who oversee the US$32 billion (RM150.6 bilion) project, have resigned, the state secretariat minister said today.

The resignations come ahead of President Joko Widodo’s planned celebration at the new capital, called Nusantara, on Indonesia’s Independence Day on August 17.

“The President has appointed the public works and housing minister and deputy agrarian minister as the acting head and deputy head,” State Secretariat Minister Pratikno said in a surprise announcement from the state palace on Monday, adding that talks about the resignations had long been discussed.

The two officials had been assigned to speed up construction of the new capital, he said. No reason for the resignations was provided.

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Bambang Susantono, a former official at the Asian Development Bank who was heading the new capital project, was not immediately available for comment.

Dhony Rahajoe, an Indonesian architect and former real estate developer who was the deputy head of authority, also did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The resignations of the two professionals comes amid a lack of private funding for the ambitious new capital being built in a remote and jungled patch of Kalimantan, on the Indonesia part of Borneo island.

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One of the stumbling blocks has been about the status of land ownership in the new capital site, Public Works Minister Basuki Hadimuljono said at Monday’s news conference.

“We will soon decide on the status of the land,” he said.

“Whether we sell it, rent it or if there will be cooperation between government and companies. We will speed it up so that investors won’t have any doubts.”

The government has been racing to build the infrastructure required for the relocation of the first batch of 12,000 civil servants this September. But the plan has previously been twice delayed, raising doubts about the president’s signature project.

“These resignations will make people question the project,” said Arya Fernandes, from Indonesia’s Centre for Strategic and International Studies. “The question is how to convince investors that there is no problem with this project.”

Nusantara is regarded as a major legacy of Widodo, who will step down this October after serving the maximum two terms in office.

Jokowi, as the president is known, plans to visit Nusantara on Tuesday to inaugurate several projects, including schools.

President-elect Prabowo Subianto who is closely aligned with Jokowi, has pledged to continue developing the new capital. — Reuters

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