The Indonesian government announced that the moratorium on the construction of the grand reclamation project off the bay of Indonesia's capital city of Jakarta has been lifted. In April 2016 Indonesian President Joko Widodo suspended all activities related to the project due to alleged violations of and/or hiatuses in Indonesian law. Moreover, a corruption scandal emerged involving one of the developers of the land reclamation project and a local Jakarta councilor.
Luhut Pandjaitan, Indonesia's Coordinating Maritime Affairs Minister, announced late last week that construction of the reclamation project, which involves the construction of 17 artificial islands off the coast of Jakarta, can continue. This project is separate from (but highly integrated with) the central government's National Capital Integrated Coastal Development (NCICD) plan, better known as the Great Garuda.
Interestingly enough, Pandjaitan informed reporters that - after profound research - there apparently had not been anything wrong with the legal, technical and environmental regulations related to Jakarta's reclamation project and therefore construction can resume. However, in April 2016 Commission IV of Indonesia's House of Representatives (DPR) had detected the following violations:
- The issuance of land reclamation permits without a Zoning Plan for Coastal Areas and Small Islands (RZWP-3-K) and/or Spatial Plan (RTRW) in line with Article 30 of Law No. 1/2014 on Management of Coastal Areas and Small Islands
- The issuance of permits without continuous communication with relevant ministries (hence violating Indonesian Law No. 1/2014
- Land reclamation permits cannot be issued only based on a Spatial Plan (RTRW) but has to be based on a Zoning Plan for Coastal Areas and Small Islands (RZWP-3-K). However, regarding the RZWP-3-K the local Jakarta administration is yet to issue local regulations
- Based on the revocation of Presidential Decree 52/1995 (through Presidential Regulation No. 54/2008), the local Jakarta administration lacks basis to issue reclamation permits
- The issued land reclamation permits are not based on a strategic environmental assessment in line with Law No. 32/2009 on the Management and Protection of the Environment
- The issuance of reclamation permits by the Jakarta Governor - in conflict with Presidential Regulation No. 26/2008 on the National Spatial Plan that lists Jakarta as a National Strategic Area (Kawasan Strategis Nasional). Only the central government has the authority to manage and utilize these areas
- The issuance of reclamation permits were not based on Minister of the Environment Decree No. 14/2013 on the Ineligibility of Reclamation
Minister Pandjaitan did not elaborate whether these findings from Commission IV were indeed incorrect. Earlier, the government had made the preliminary conclusion that the combination of the high degree of private sector involvement in Jakarta's land reclamation project and the unclear legal framework was the cause of problems.
Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama welcomed the news that the reclamation project can continue. However, Ahok is still waiting for an official (written) document from the central authorities that states that construction can resume.
Former Agung Podomoro Land General Director Ariesman Widjaja was sentenced to three years in prison and IDR 200 million (approx. USD $15,300) in fines (or three additional months imprisonment) by the Jakarta Corruption Court (Tipikor). The court found him guilty of bribing Muhammad Sanusi, former legislator of Jakarta's provincial assembly. By bribing Sanusi, Widjaja tried to influence the outcome of deliberations on two draft bills with regard to Jakarta's Zoning Plan and Coastal Northern Territory (RZWP3K) for the period 2015-2035 and the North Jakarta Strategic Area Regional Spatial Plan. Agung Podomoro Land's subsidiary Muara Wisesa Samudra develops Islet G, a big residential and commercial property project called Pluit City.