Pandjaitan`s decree was issued just 10 days before the upcoming inauguration of Jakarta Governor-elect Anies Baswedan and his deputy, Sandiaga Uno, who during their regional head elections campaign to cancel the reclamation project.
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs, Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, on Oct 5 issued a Ministerial Decree No S-78-001/02/Coordinating Minister/Maritime/X/2017 to revoke a decree on moratorium of Jakarta Bay reclamation project issued in 2016 by his predecessor, Rizal Ramli.

Pandjaitan sent a letter informing outgoing Jakarta Governor Djarot Saiful Hidayat that the moratorium was officially lifted as developers had fulfilled several requirements demanded by Ramli.

The requirements included a revision to the Environmental Impact Analysis (Amdal), taking into account technical designs for power plant pipes, sedimentation mitigation, and sailing routes for traditional fishermen.

Pandjaitans decree was issued just 10 days before the upcoming inauguration of Jakarta Governor-elect Anies Baswedan and his deputy, Sandiaga Uno, who during their regional head elections (pilkada) campaign had promised their constituents, particularly traditional fishermen, to cancel the reclamation project.

Pandjaitan, however, affirmed on Oct 9 that Baswedan cannot cancel the reclamation project in Jakarta Bay, because the project was under the central governments control.

Following the revocation of the moratorium, projects of the C, D, and G Islands in North Jakarta Coast would resume.

He explained that he had demanded the developer to find a solution for the undersea cable network of coal-based power plants (PLTU) in Muara Karang, which were affected by the project.

"The interest of local fishermen has also been duly taken into consideration for carrying out the reclamation project. A channel has been provided for fishermen going out to or returning from the sea. Thank God, there is no injustice committed against fishermen. This is in line with the program of the Maritime and Fisheries Ministry to develop the port at Muara Baru into a modern fish market," Pandjaitan added.

The Indonesian Businessmen Association (Apindo) has lauded the governments decision to revoke the moratorium on reclamation in Jakarta Bay.

They believed that the Jakarta Bay reclamation project will help boost new economic growth and positive sentiment for Indonesia.

"A new economic area and growth will emerge," Hariyadi Sukamdarni, the chairman of Apindo, stated on Sept 11.

The government had issued the moratorium based on political considerations, he remarked. In fact, reclamation development is normal in several countries, he pointed out.

Traditional fishermen in North Jakarta and surrounding areas, however, have expressed their objection towards the Jakarta Bay reclamation project.

The Indonesian Traditional Fisherman Association (KNTI) has stated that the reclamation projects in several regions would affect the sea prevent traditional fishermen from having access to the marine natural resources.

"Greedy businessmen behind the reclamation projects in 28 Indonesian coastal areas are snatching the ocean from traditional fishermen," Marthin Hadiwinata, the chairman of KNTI, noted.

Under the guise of conducting development of coastal regions that were claimed to have been damaged, for instance, in Jakarta Bay, greedy businessmen have gained multiple profits from the reclamation projects by carrying out destructive projects, he claimed.

Based on studies on several reclamation projects, there were indications of the projects having violated legal procedures, ranging from zone planning and licensing to implementation concerning environmental assessment.

Meanwhile, the Peoples Coalition for Fishery Justice (Kiara) has opined that reclamation is not suitable for the Indonesian nation that is spread over a vast area.

"Reclamation is not really suitable for this nation. It could be checked. There are plenty of land areas that could be used," Kiara Secretary General Susan Herawati Romica noted on Sept 26.

The NGO noted that trying to emulate Singapore in terms of conducting reclamation is a wrong step, as it is a small country, while Indonesia is large and has a vast area.

According to the 2016 data of the Kiara information and data center, more than 107 thousand fishermens households were affected by 16 reclamation projects that have been spread across Indonesia.

Mining activities in coastal areas and small islands in 20 regions in the country have resulted in the loss of livelihoods of the local people and destruction of the coastal ecology.

As for the Jakarta Bay reclamation project, one of serious questions often asked is the source of sand, corals, and other solid materials needed for building the man-made islands. Massive sand and coral mining will endanger or even make an island and several islets vanish.

Since the Jakarta Bay project is relatively close to the Thousand Islands (Kepulauan Seribu), several environmentalists suspect the reclamation project might source sand and coral from the Thousand Islands, which might lead to the disappearance of several islets in the area. (*)

Reporter: Fardah
Editor: Heru Purwanto
Copyright © ANTARA 2017