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Indonesia presses on with capital relocation plan despite pandemic

Ostentatious design draws new critics of $32bn project in East Kalimantan

The design of the presidential palace in Indonesia's planned new capital features a massive structure in the shape of a Garuda, an eagle-like mythical bird that is a symbol of the nation. (Screenshot from Joko Widodo's Twitter page) 

JAKARTA -- Indonesia's $32 billion plan to move its capital city from Jakarta to Borneo is triggering fresh debate over issues ranging from the design of a new palace to the chances of attracting global funding amid the pandemic.

The controversy was resparked in late March after Balinese sculptor Nyoman Nuarta announced on Instagram he won a government design contest for the presidential palace in the planned new capital location in East Kalimantan Province. Many people say a massive Garuda-shape structure on top of the planned building ostentatious and unnecessary -- the Garuda, an eagle-like mythical bird, is a symbol of the nation.

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