JAKARTA: The development project of the Nusantara’s capital in East Kalimantan, worth about US$32 billion and scheduled to be completed in 2045, became a hot topic in the 2024 Indonesian vice-presidential candidate debate on Friday.

The candidates – Gibran Rakabuming Raka, Mahfud MD and Muhaimin Iskandar – voiced various views, including on the budget and current interests during the question-and-answer session.

Mahfud, who is also the coordinating minister for politics, law and security, raised concerns about the government’s dependence on the national budget, warning of potential land ownership issues and the lack of private investors.

“As far as we know, no investors have come in until today. Give me an example of investors,“ he said.

The general leader of the National Awakening Party, Muhaimin placed importance on infrastructure projects over ambitious projects, suggesting that allocations be channelled to road and school constructions.

Meanwhile, Gibran emphasised on the ongoing construction of infrastructure as a catalyst for economic growth, the creation of jobs and a symbol of the development transformation in Indonesia.

He said only 20 per cent of the Nusantara’s construction cost comes from the national budget and the rest from investors, such as conglomerate Mayapada Group and real estate developer, Agung Sedayu Group.

“More investors will invest after the presidential election, depending on political stability,“ said Gibran, who is also President Joko Widodo’s son.

Gibran, who is Solo mayor, pledged to extend downstream programmes to the agriculture, fisheries and digital sectors if he wins the election.

The Prabowo Subianto’s partnership wants development outside Java Island to be accelerated, drive the creative economy and SMEs, and make Indonesia the world’s green energy centre with the development of biodiesel.

Mahfud, partnered with Ganjar Pranowo, is determined to uphold the rule of law, fight corruption in the legislature and judiciary, and the mining sector.

He believes that this can ensure a continuous flow of investments and developments and also economic growth, which will benefit the people.

Muhaimin wants to raise taxes on the rich while reducing taxes on the middle class and making social assistance a national obligation.

The Anies-Baswedan partnership pledged to offer loans to young people to do business and create more job opportunities and develop rural areas. - Bernama

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