BANGKOK – Although Indonesia has announced plans to move its capital from Jakarta to Kalimantan, the ASEAN headquarters will remain in Jakarta, ASEAN Secretary-General Dato Lim Jock Hoi has said.

“As far as ASEAN is concerned, the ASEAN Secretariat will not move to Kalimantan because we just got a new building,” he said at the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia’s (ERIA) editors’ roundtable in Bangkok on Sunday.

“We would like to see what we have in New York with the United Nations — that the ASEAN Secretariat will be the anchor for the ASEAN capital in Jakarta.”

With 93 ambassadors accredited to ASEAN, 74 of them based in Jakarta, Dato Lim said Jakarta would remain the diplomatic capital of the 10-member bloc.

“We believe that Jakarta will be the capital of ASEAN,” he said.

Built by the Indonesian government at a cost of US$37 million, the new ASEAN Secretariat building in South Jakarta was inaugurated by Indonesian President Joko Widodo on August 8 to mark the 52nd anniversary of ASEAN’s establishment.

Just two weeks later, Widodo announced the country’s capital will move from Jakarta — a city of 10 million plagued by overcrowding, pollution and sinking land — to a site in sparsely populated East Kalimantan province.

The new capital would act as the centre of government, he said, while Jakarta would remain the country’s business and economic centre.

Widodo said the relocation of the capital would take up to a decade and cost as much as US$32 billion, but that the move was necessary to reduce population density and economic disparity between Java and the rest of Indonesia.