One could certainly argue that there’s something controversial about the revision as it gives the country’s religious community organizations (in Indonesian: organisasi kemasyarakatan keagamaan) preferential treatment in the coal mining industry. At first (and second) glance, religious communities and coal mining feels like a strange combination. And therefore it is interesting to take a closer look at this matter.

First, we need to take a look at the part in the new law that discusses this subject. In Article 83(A) of Regulation 25/2024 it is stated that:

(1) In order to improve community welfare, a special mining license area (Wilayah Izin Usaha Pertambangan Khusus, or WIUPK) can be offered – on a priority basis – to business entities owned by religious organizations;

(2) The WIUPK as referred to in paragraph (1) involves a mining area that was previously operated by an entity that held a Coal Mining Concession Work Agreement (Perjanjian Karya Pengusahaan Pertambangan Batubara, or PKP2B).

Before we take a look at other important paragraphs in Regulation 25/2024 it is first important to address a couple of matters mentioned in the two paragraphs above.

For example, what are these “religious organizations” exactly? Well, Indonesia has many social organizations (organisasi kemasyarakatan, which are often abbreviated as ormas). These organizations are founded/formed by the community, voluntarily, based on specific shared aspirations, desires, needs, interests, activities, and goals. In principle, these organizations aim to push for development of their specific goals, values or ambitions, and support the interests of their members. Indonesia’s biggest social organizations also play a role in national politics.

The religious organizations are one category of social organizations. As Indonesia is home to the world’s biggest Muslim population, it are especially the Muslim religious organizations that are well-known and play important roles in society and politics.

The two biggest examples of Islamic organizations in Indonesia are Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) and the Muhammadiyah. NU has an estimated membership of over 95 million people while Muhammadiyah is estimated to have 60 million members. Both Islamic organizations aren’t only busy with religious activities but are also engaged in other social activities. For example, NU and Muhammadiyah own and operate schools and universities as well as hospitals. Moreover, they organize programs to help alleviate poverty.


This is the introduction of the article. To read the full article you can order our June 2024 report (an electronic report, PDF, in English). Contact us through email and/or WhatsApp:

- +62(0)882.9875.1125

Take a glance inside the report here!