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Indonesia's new capital, Nusantara, sparks controversy

Critics call out 'Java-centric' name, rushed passage of law, corruption concerns

President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's choice of name for the new capital comes from the term "nusantara," which was historically introduced by the Majapahit kingdom, a Java-based empire from the 13th to 15th centuries that conquered all of Indonesia. (Source photos by Jun Suzuki and Reuters) 

JAKARTA -- Indonesia's recent passage of a law on a new capital city has triggered criticism on all kinds of issues, from its name to a rushed parliamentary process and concerns over the state budget and corruption.

The House of Representatives passed the bill on the new capital into law last week. The name, Nusantara, came out only one day earlier, immediately sparking a lot of reactions on social media. The Indonesian word "nusantara," originating from Sanskrit, refers to the entire Indonesian archipelago, and so many people pointed out that the name of the new capital can be easily confused with the whole nation.

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