Indonesia: Reclamation has reached ‘point of no return’

Dewanti A. Wardhani The Jakarta Post 25 Apr 16;

Despite criticism and alleged foul play by developers, the Jakarta administration has said that the land reclamation projects — now under moratorium — cannot be undone.

Assistant to the governor for spatial planning and environment, Oswar Muadzin Mungkasa, said that the project had reached “a point of no return”, as several islands had already been formed. Thus, he said, the city administration could now only monitor the development in order to minimize the negative impact of land reclamation.

“The land reclamation projects in Jakarta have reached a point of no return. Therefore, all we can do is make sure that negative impact is minimal,” Oswar told The Jakarta Post recently.

Much like Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama, Oswar argued that the project had a firm legal basis, citing Presidential Decree No. 52/1995 on land reclamation regarding the Jakarta coast issued by then-president Soeharto. Thus, he said, the city administration would not be able to simply cancel the project or revoke those permits which had been issued.

Oswar said that Islet D developer PT Kapuk Naga Indah, a subsidiary of Agung Sedayu Group, had started to develop buildings — despite a lack of bylaw to regulate zoning in the islets, which is a violation. The city administration do not plan to destroy the buildings developed on islet D just yet, emphasized Oswar, adding that the buildings’ location “may be in line with the zoning bylaw”.

Indonesian Center for Environmental Law researcher Rayhan Dudayev said that although the moratorium was a positive step, he urged both the central government and the city administration to take legal steps to stop the project. Rayhan said that the government and the administration had every right to cancel the project and revoke land reclamation permits, as was stipulated in Law No. 30/2014 on public administration.

Article 64 of the law states that a decree may be revoked if there are flaws in authority, procedure or substance.

Rayhan, however, acknowledged that the government might be faced with consequences such as a declining business climate and costs associated with repairing the environmental or social losses triggered by the project thus far.

Public Works and Public Housing Minister Basuki Hadimuljono said that the land reclamation project had no effect on the National Capital Integrated Coastal Development ( NCICD ) phase A project, which was to build and repair the existing 90 kilometer seawall on the shores of Jakarta Bay. The project has been made a priority project by President Joko “Jokowi’’ Widodo.

“NCICD phase A has nothing to do with land reclamation so it will not be affected by the moratorium,” Basuki said recently.

The Indonesian Traditional Fishermen’s Association ( KNTI ) advisory board head Riza Damanik said that the land reclamation project was not just a mere administrative or procedural issue, but was a larger problem concerning the constitutional right of every resident to a decent living, clean and healthy environment and waters, and the right to participate in developing the city.

Moratorium imposed on Jakarta Bay reclamation
Fardah Antara 25 Apr 16;

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs Rizal Ramli announced on April 18 the governments decision to impose moratorium on Jakarta Bay reclamation till the pros and cons of the multi-billion reclamation deal are studied.

"We request that the construction work be suspended until all requirements and legal regulations are fully met," Minister Rizal Ramli, who was accompanied by Environmental Affairs and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya and Jakarta Governor Basuki Purnama Tjahaja (Ahok), told the press.

A special joint committee is to be formed to look into the matter, Minister Rizal Ramli said.

The committee will comprise senior officials from related ministries.

They will include two director generals and two directors of the Ministry of Environmental Affairs and Forestry, two director generals and two directors of the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, two director generals of the Home Affairs Ministry, two directors of the Maritime Affairs Coordinating Ministry, and a representative of the cabinet secretary.

The Jakarta administration will send its deputy governor, development assistant, regional secretary, marine agency and the local governments team.

The joint committee will also be handling the cases of overlapping regulations connected with the project, according to Minister Rizal Ramli.

The team is expected to make public the results of its work next month or within two months.

Minister Siti Nurbaya said among the problems to be solved are those related to an environmental impact analysis which needs to be completed.

She recommended that all the reclamation projects be discontinued pending coordination between the government and local administrations, including those of Tangerang in Banten and Bekasi in West Java.

Nine developers, including state-owned companies and major private real estate companies, have received permits to build a total of 17 islands which will cost an estimated Rp 150 trillion ($11.4 billion) in investment on Jakarta Bay.
The Jakarta Bay reclamation project has become controversial after a bribery case concerning the mega project came to light. Demonstrations against the project were staged by fishermen and the urban poor affected by it.

Calls to halt the reclamation project have been voiced by various parties, including Vice President M. Jusuf Kalla, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister Susi Pudjiastuti, Environmental Affairs and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya, several legislators and NGO activists.

Earlier, Maritime Affairs and Fishery Minister Susi Pudjiastuti called on the Jakarta administration to halt the Jakarta Bay reclamation project until developers meet all necessary norms.

The reclamation was being carried out without any recommendation or observing coastal area zoning regional regulations, the minister told the press recently.

A reclamation project needs recommendation from the Maritime Affairs and Fishery Ministry.

The ministrys director general for maritime spatial management issued a letter number B 204/PRL/IV/2016 on April 15, 2016, ordering that the reclamation project be temporary stopped.

The letter was sent to the Jakarta provincial secretary and copied to the Minister of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, the Minister of the Environment and Forestry, the Minister of Home Affairs and the Jakarta Governor.

In the meantime, leading economist and former environment minister Emil Salim said reclamation of the northern coast of Java could transform the area not only into an economic growth center, but also into a maritime, fishery and shipbuilding industrial center.

However, he warned that reclamation of the Jakarta Bay must not neglect the environmental impact aspect.

Reclamation should be through a natural process through sedimentation of mud brought by rivers that empty into the Jakarta Bay, he said.

It is a wrong way of reclamation by digging coral reefs around the One Thousand Islands to create new man-made islands, he said, referring to reclamation by giant companies PT Agung Podomoro and Agung Sedayu Group in the Jakarta Bay.
The destruction of the corals will affect the ecosystem, change the sea currents, dam
age the environment, and even cause some of the One Thousand Islands to disappear, he said.

While lauding the moratorium, Indonesian Environmental Forum (Walhi), the countrys leading environment NGO, however, criticized that the move may not have any significant impact and termed it only a political moratorium because it lacked a legal basis for imposing sanctions against companies found violating the moratorium.

"If there are no sanctions against the perpetrators, this will only be sweet nothings to everyones ears," Head of the Walhi Jakarta Chapter Moestaqiem Dahlan was quoted as saying by Tempo on April 23.

Dahlan claimed that the reclamation process used stolen materials including sand among other things from the Banten Province.

At the end, the project will not only harm the environment of the Jakarta Bay and surrounding areas but also destroy the ecology of Banten.

The reclamation project has affected some three thousand fishermen, and resulted in eviction of 3,579 families during the 2000-2011 period.(*)

Jakarta reclamation project must not break laws: President
Antara 27 Apr 16;

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) said here on Wednesday that the reclamation project in Jakarta must not break any existing laws or regulations.

"There must not be any violation of existing laws and regulations in the implementation of this project," cabinet secretary Pramono Anung said after a limited cabinet meeting on Jakarta reclamation project at the presidents office.

In this context, the President has asked all ministries/state institutions concerned, including the Ministry of Environmental Affairs, the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources, the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Ministry of Agrarian Affairs and Spatial Order/head of National Land Agency to synchronize their work so as to avoid legal problems in the future.

He said the President also requested that a key master plan be prepared clearly to respond to any environmental problems that may affect sea biota, mangroves and other aspects.

"The President emphasized that the project would be useless if it does not benefit the people, especially the local fishermen," he said.

Pramono said the project must be fully controlled and directed by the government, in this case the central government and regional governments (Jakarta, Banten and West Java).

"The reclamation activity carried out so far will be reviewed following a temporary moratorium. In this connection, the governors of Jakarta, Banten and West Java must synchronize their decision making, integrate all regulations and submit these to the National Development Planning Board (Bappenas) to be incorporated into the joint master plan," he said.

The meeting was attended by governors of Jakarta, Banten and West Java, Vice President Jusuf Kalla and the concerned cabinet ministers.
The project will later be called "Garuda Project." Pramono said the project is actually different from the Jakarta Bay reclamation project covering 17 isles.

President Joko Widodo has issued directives and asked the National Development Planning Board to complete the big project during the six-month moratorium to be integrated with the 17-isles reclamation project.

The project had triggered a controversy after a regional law maker was caught receiving bribes from a developer involved in the project.(*)

Jakarta Bay project against the law: KPK
Haeril Halim The Jakarta Post 27 Apr 16;

The Corruption Eradication Commission ( KPK ) says its investigation into the multitrillion-rupiah Jakarta Bay reclamation megaproject has confirmed that the project contravenes the law.

KPK legal experts had been examining regulations relating to the reclamation following the arrest of PT Agung Podomoro Land ( APL ) director Ariesman Widjaja on suspicion of bribing Jakarta city councillor Mohamad Sanusi to expedite the issuance of a zoning bylaw regarding the reclamation area.

The regulations in question include Presidential Decree No. 52/1995 on land reclamation regarding the Jakarta coast issued by then president Soeharto, Law No. 27/2007 on coastal area and islet management, Law No. 54/2008 on spatial planning management in Jakarta, Depok, Tangerang, Puncak and Cianjur and Presidential Regulation No. 122/2012 on reclamation of coastal areas and islets, issued by then president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

Despite a lack of necessary bylaws, including zoning regulations, the Jakarta administration, now led by Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama, has since 2014 issued a number of permits for developers, including APL, to start construction on the reclaimed land.

KPK commissioner Laode Muhammad Syarif said that after thorough study of the regulations, commission investigators had concluded that the Jakarta administration had no right to issue permits for the Jakarta Bay reclamation projects.

Laode further said that the projects came under the jurisdiction of two provinces, namely Jakarta and neighboring Banten; as such, it is related ministries, including the Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry and the Environment and Forestry Ministry, that have the right to issue permits for the project, rather than the Jakarta administration.

“According to the most updated regulations, if a reclamation project covers more than one province, then it must be handled nationally and the leading institutions are related ministries,” Laode said on Tuesday.

The Jakarta administration, he added, should have studied the related regulations before issuing permits for development.

Laode lauded the recent joint decision by Coordinating Maritime Affairs Minister Rizal Ramli, Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry officials and Ahok to temporarily halt the projects and disentangle the legal mess.

The commission, he went on, expects related institutions to consider economic, environmental and social aspects in settling the legal disputes plaguing the controversial projects.

In addition, KPK chairman Agus Raharjo said that following the arrest of Sanusi and Ariesman, the antigraft body had shifted its attention to scrutinizing the legality of other reclamation projects underway across the country.

“We’re not just looking at Jakarta, we’re also looking at Makassar and Bali. We hope the projects in those provinces do comply with existing regulations,” Agus said.

On Friday, Siti said the environmental impact analysis ( Amdal ) on the Jakarta reclamation project was deeply flawed, failing to take into account the environmental degradation caused by sand dredging in coastal areas of Banten.

Besides inadequate environmental assessment, Siti also pointed out that despite the megaproject, divided into 17 islets from A to Q, having incomplete Amdal documentation, construction was already up and running.

A KPK investigation into the bribery allegations surrounding the projects has so far seen Ariesman and Sanusi named suspects, as well as two other APL employees. In the days subsequent to the arrest of Ariesman, the commission moved to impose travel bans on PT Agung Sedayu Group ( ASG ) owner Sugianto “Aguan” Kusuma and his son and ASG president director Richard Halim Kusuma, as well as a special advisor to Ahok, Sunny Tanuwidjaja.

The KPK implicated Aguan in the case after collecting preliminary evidence that his company had also bribed Sanusi to ensure the swift issuance of the zoning bylaw, which as been left in limbo by the arrest of the councillor.

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