(Singapore 26 May 2023) Malaysia has no plan to build a new railway network linking Sabah with Nusantara, Inodnesia’s under-construction new capital, but will continue to facilitate the involvement of Malaysian companies in the gigantic project.
According to Malaysia’s Ministry of Investment, Trade, and Industry (MITI) as reported by The Borneo Post, the government will continue to look for opportunities for more Malaysian companies to be involved throughout the period of Nusantara development that offers a wider potential for investment, trade, and economic collaboration in various fields.
“The Indonesian government, in principle, welcomes Malaysia’s intention and the interest of Malaysian companies to participate in the development of Nusantara,” the ministry said in a written reply published on the Parliament’s website on Thursday.
MITI was responding to Oscar Ling Chai Yew’s (DAP-Sibu) question regarding the details of the involvement of private companies and government-related companies in the development of Indonesia’s Nusantara, the report said.
The ministry said the involvement of local companies would also be able to contribute towards improving investment and trade performance between Malaysia and Indonesia, in order to realize the well-being of the people in Sabah and Sarawak and the country in general.
Meanwhile, in response to Ling’s question on the government’s proposal to build a highway over the railway connecting Nusantara with Sabah and Sarawak, MITI said as the nearest neighboring country, Malaysia is expected to feel the economic spillover effects from Nusantara development, either directly or indirectly, especially for Sabah and Sarawak. However, Malaysia so far has no plan to build a new railway.
“The government constantly following the development of Nusantara in East Kalimantan and at the moment, the Ministry of Transport has no proposal to build a railway network connecting Sarawak and Sabah with Brunei or Nusantara… Currently, the focus is on the urban rail network under the Kuching Urban Transport System (KUTS) project led by Sarawak Metro in Sarawak while in Sabah, the focus is on improving the railway infrastructure as well as the quality of Sabah’s train services led by the Sabah State Railway Department,” it said.
However, it said the government is willing to help any party interested in conducting a feasibility study related to the construction of a highway or railway connecting Sabah and Sarawak with Nusantara.
MITI said as the nearest neighboring country, Malaysia is also expected to feel the economic spillover effects from Nusantara development, either directly or indirectly, especially for Sabah and Sarawak, the Borneo Post report said.
The ministry said during Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s visit to Indonesia on Jan 8, a total of 10 Malaysian companies expressed their intentions to be involved in the development of Nusantara through the submission of 11 letters of intent (LOI) to participate in various sectors, the report said.
Recently, four more Malaysian companies expressed their intentions through LOI to be involved in Nusantara development, the report said.
In early 2020, Indonesia’s parliament passed a law approving the relocation of its capital from slowly sinking Jakarta to a site 2,000km away on jungle-clad Borneo island that will be named “Nusantara”.
The legal framework for the move was first tipped by President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo in April 2019 who cited rising sea levels and severe congestion on densely populated Java island. More than $30 billion (S$40.7 billion) has been reportedly earmarked for the project.
Home to more than 30 million people in its greater metro area, Jakarta has long been plagued by serious infrastructure problems and flooding exacerbated by climate change, with experts predicting up to a third of the city could be underwater by 2050.