Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The moratorium imposed on the Jakarta Bay reclamation project is against the law because it was equivalent to imposing sanctions on the developers, constitutional law expert Irmanputra Sidin said.

"The developers of the project are not guilty only because of the ongoing rhetoric on whether the (maritime affairs and fisheries) minister or the governor has the authority to issue a permit on the project," Irmanputra said here on Friday.

The government has unilaterally halted the Jakarta Bay reclamation project in North Jakarta coastal area. The stoppage of the project, according to Irmanputra, caused losses to the developers and will be seen as as a bad precedent by those investing in Indonesia.

He said he could not understand the way of thinking of the government when it comes to halting the reclamation project because the developers are also citizens whose rights are guaranteed by the Constitution. Legal certainty and protection of rights to do business are part of that.

"They have already obtained a license to develop the Jakarta coastal area and thus this could not be halted by the government," the constitutional law expert said.

Ironically, he added, the developers have no right to decide who is the authorized party to give them permits. If the license is revoked, then what is the solution that the government will provide to the developers who have spent trillions of rupiah to finance the reclamation project.

If the government considers the permit as problematic, it should also come up with a solution by attuning the permit keeping in view the required conditions instead of acting in an adverse manner and threatening sanctions in the form of a moratorium, he said.

"What will happen if the developers choose to sue the government over the moratorium issue and ask for compensation? How much money will the government have to pay?" Irmanputra asked.

Jakarta Governor Basuki T Purnama (Ahok) accepted that the project has been stopped on a temporary basis, but said the moratorium did cause losses to the developers involved.

"I think they will suffer economic losses. They have signed contracts to continue the project. The project has been initiated by the Dutch and developers have to temporarily stop it now," said Ahok after attending a meeting between Maritime Coordinating Minister Rizal Ramli and Martime Affairs and Fisheries Miniter Susi Pudjiastitui recently.

On April 18, Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs Rizal Ramli announced the governments decision to impose a moratorium on the Jakarta Bay reclamation project until the pros and cons of the multi-billion reclamation deal were evaluated.

"We request to suspend the construction work 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, informed the press.

A special joint committee will be set up to look into the matter, Minister Ramli noted.

The committee will comprise senior officials from related ministries. (*)

Editor: Heru Purwanto
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