Indonesia eyes September for mass relocation of civil servants to Nusantara

MONDAY, APRIL 22, 2024

With just under four months to go until the country celebrates its 79th anniversary, the government is finalising its plans and preparations to relocate almost 12,000 civil servants to the new capital still under development in East Kalimantan.

The government plans to relocate a handful of cabinet members to Nusantara as early as July, followed by a bigger wave of relocation in September that will see almost 12,000 civil servants calling the country’s new capital in East Kalimantan home.

Administrative and Bureaucratic Reform Minister Abdullah Azwar Anas said the government had laid the regulatory groundwork for relocating civil servants to Nusantara over the next few months.

“Starting from July, a few ministers, including Basuki [Hadimuljono] will relocate to the new capital,” Abdullah told a press briefing last week, without elaborating which cabinet members would join the public works and housing minister in the new capital.

Abdullah said the government would then focus on temporarily housing the over 1,000 officials who would be involved in the 79th Independence Day celebrations on Aug. 17, long earmarked by President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo as the deadline for relocating government employees.

He said the occasion would “require a big support system since thousands will be staying” in the nation’s new capital to attend the August celebrations.

“As such, we have received an instruction from the [presidential] palace for civil servants to be relocated after the ceremony,” Abdullah added.

Civil servants are to be relocated through a staggered process based on the division they work for at selected ministries or institutions, instead of entire ministries as initially planned.

Abdullah said the first wave in September would affect around 11,900 civil servants and certain high-ranking officials from 38 ministries and state institutions, rather than moving all employees of 10 ministries.

He added, however, that this figure could “still be adjusted based on the availability of housing and [the readiness] of infrastructure”.

Meanwhile, the second and third waves would involve relocating around 6,000 and 14,000 employees respectively, though he did not provide a time frame.

According to 2023 data from the National Civil Service Agency (BKN), the central government employs around 932,000 civil servants and 21,000 nonpermanent workers, of which 20 per cent are based in Jakarta.

While it is up to each ministry and institution to decide which employees to relocate to Nusantara, those in the first wave are to be given additional incentives and benefits, the technical details of which the government is still hashing out.

In addition to relocating its Jakarta-based employees, the government also plans to promote provincial civil servants in East Kalimantan to staff its offices in Nusantara.

“This is a great opportunity for the [people] of Kalimantan, especially East Kalimantan, to become part of Indonesia’s history by serving as civil servants in the nation’s new capital,” Abdullah said.

Nusantara, which is to span 256,000 hectares and cost nearly Rp 541 trillion (US$35 billion) to develop, has been widely hailed as the magnum opus of Jokowi, whose two-term presidency ends in October.

After personally leading numerous groundbreaking ceremonies in East Kalimantan over the past year, Jokowi is expected to issue a presidential decree soon to officially transfer the administrative designation of the national capital from Jakarta to Nusantara.

Dio Suhenda

The Jakarta Post