"The reclamation process could be continued if its environmental impact analysis and legal aspects have been settled," Mardani Ali Sera, deputy secretary general of the Executive Board of the Prosperous Justice Party, noted in a written statement on Wednesday (April 6).
The Jakarta reclamation project, in which at least 17 reclaimed islands and a waterfront city will be built, was initiated in the era of the New Order government over two decades ago. However, environmentalists are opposed to the plan, claiming that it would destroy the ecosystem and worsen the annual flooding.
According to Mardani, the North Jakarta Bay reclamation project needs to be halted and re-discussed from the perspective of ensuring the prosperity of Jakartas residents.
He stated that the process of reclamation could be continued after its environmental impact analysis and legal aspects had been addressed.
The relevant parties should also ensure that the reclamation process meets the required condition to offer benefits to people from different sections of the society such as the high, middle, and lower income groups.
After all, the reclamation and waterfront city mega project is seen as only benefiting the people of the upper classes and marginalizing fishermen whose livelihood depend on the Jakarta Bay.
Therefore, Secretary General of the Peoples Coalition for Fishery Justice (Kiara) Abdul Halim called on the authorities to halt the project as it had not yet secured a legal umbrella through the issuance of the Jakarta bylaw on the zoning of its small isles and coastal areas.
Halim remarked that the Jakarta Bay reclamation project was not advantageous for the coastal community and will only benefit big property developers.
"It will only benefit property developers. The coastal communities, in this case, the fishermen, will not be benefited," Kiaras secretary general affirmed on Wednesday. He said the coastal communities include the fishermen and fish farmers who cultivate cultured fish and oysters.
PKS deputy secretary general Mardani added that the reclamation could be continued after the legal and environmental aspects have been settled, taking into account the interest of lower-income people.
It should meet the mixed society concept, providing benefit for upper and lower classes of people.
"It should be ensured that the reclaimed land will be used to develop a residential complex for people from different income groups, with a ratio of one luxury, three middle-class, and six modest houses," the PKS deputy secretary general explained.
Jakarta chief development planner Tuty Kusumawati claimed that the spatial plan for the North Jakarta reclamation project had been formulated based on public interest.
"Of the total planned reclaimed islands, some 50 to 55 percent of each island is made available for the people," she noted on Monday.
Of the 50 percent land area designated for the people, some 20 percent of each island are set for open and green spaces, 5.0 percent for blue spaces or lakes and water catchment areas; 5.0 percent for social and public facility areas; 5.0 percent road infrastructure; and public beaches covering at least 10 percent of the islands coast.
The issue on the reclamation of the North Jakarta coastal area came to surface following the disclosure of an alleged corruption scandal linked to the drafting of bylaws governing the zoning plan for the Jakarta island and coastal areas.
The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) on Friday (April 1) announced it has named as suspect Mohamad Sanusi, chairman of the Gerindra Party faction in the Jakarta Legislative Assembly, for allegedly receiving a bribe in connection with the drafting of the bylaws.
According to reports, the KPK also named the president director of PT Agung Podomoro (one of the project developers), Ariesman Widjaja, who allegedly has paid Rp2 billion in bribes to Mohamad Sanusi, in connection with deliberation of draft bylaws on zoning plan for Jakartas coastal area and small isles for 2015-2035 and on spatial plan for strategic North Jakarta coastal area.
KPK on Thursday (March 31) confiscated evidence in the form of cash money worth Rp1.14 billion out of a total of Rp2 billion commitment that has been paid by Ariesman to Sanusi through PT Agung Podomoro Lands personal assistant Trinanda Prihantoro.
The draft bylaws have been discussed for the past several months but the Jakarta provincial government and the Jakarta legislative assembly still failed to reach an agreement over them.
PKS deputy secretary general Mardani Ali Sera emphasized that the KPK should aggressively investigate the mastermind behind the corruption scandal linked to the reclamation project in North Jakarta.
Mardani stressed that all parties involved in the reclamation project such as members of the Jakarta Regional Legislative Assembly (DPRD), the private sector and the Jakarta government must also be investigated.
"The KPK will summon all parties involved in the drafting of the bylaws for questioning," KPK acting spokesperson Yuyuk Andriati stated on Monday (April 4).
The idea to reclaim the north Jakarta coastal areas surfaced during the New Order government. It was stipulated in Presidential Decree No.17/1994 on the northern coast as a potential area. One year later, President Soeharto issued Decree No.52/1995 which stipulated that the reclamation would be done in North Jakarta.
The plan to implement the reclamation project was contained in the Jakarta government bylaw No. 8/1995. However, the environment ministers decree no. 14/2003 said the reclamation could not be done until its environmental impact analysis (AMDAL) stated the project is feasible.
In 2003, six developers of the project sued the environment minister for its decree which said the north Jakarta coastal area reclamation breached AMDAL regulation. The high court ruled in favor of the six companies, but at the Supreme Court (MA), the environment minister won the appeal.
Thus, in 2004, then President Megawati Soekarnoputri asked then Jakarta governor Sutiyoso to review the-Rp20 trillion-worth reclamation project which stretched 32 km along the Jakarta northern coast.
On the continuation of the project, regardless of the fact that Presidential Decree No. 52/1995 has been annulled by Presidential Decree No. 54/2008, Jakarta chief development planner Tuty Kusumawati said what has been revoked in decree no. 52/1995 was the article concerning the spatial planning while that concerning the authority and issuance of license were not revoked.
"Article 4 stipulates that the authority and responsibility of reclamation are in the hands of the Jakarta Governor," she said.(*)