North Kalimantan: A Brief Look at Indonesia's Youngest Province

Women of Malinau, North Kalimantan give thumbs up pose with Vice Governor Yansen Tipa Pandan. | Photo credit: Yansen TP.

THE HOUSE of Representatives (DPR) inaugurated North Kalimantan as the 34th province on October 25, 2012, making it the youngest Indonesia’s province.

North Kalimantan was previously part of the province of East Kalimantan.

The province is located in the northtern/northeastern edge of Kalimantan, the Indonesian portion of Borneo Island.

North Kalimantan is adjacent to the East Malaysian states of Sarawak and Sabah.

The province covers a total area of 72,567 square kilometres (28.018 square miles), and rainforests cover more than half of the land.

North Kalimantan’s 2019 total population was estimated to be 742,245, with a density of only 10 people per square kilometers.

The people of North Kalimantan live in 42 subdistricts and 452 villages of four regencies and a municipality.

The four regencies and a municipality in the province of North Kalimantan include Bulungan (Tanjung Selor), Malinau, Nunukan, Tana Tidung and the municipality of Tarakan.

(In Indonesia, either a regency or a municipality is a governmental subdivision of a province, and therefore basically different words for the same administration area.)

Tarakan, North Kalimantan’s most populous municipality/regency, accounted for about 30 percent of the province’s total population.

Tanjung Selor, the main subdistrict of Bulungan regency, is chosen as North Kalimantan’s capital.

Native people of North Kalimantan speak various local languages, consist of Bahasa Tidung (with its different dialects), Banjarese, the local language of Berau, the Lundayeh ethnic language, language of Kutai, and Dayaknese.

North Kalimantan province is currently led by governor Zainal Paliwang.[sahrudin]