The Tormenting of Corruption Agrarian and Natural Resources

Konsorsium Pembaruan Agraria (KPA/Consortium for Agrarian Reform)

Recently, the issue of corruption is very enthused by various circles and segments of society. Not only on political side – because mostly who did it was upper political elites – it also become an interested object of environmentalists and land rights civil society organs.

Corruption issue is no longer a consumption of political elites to disgrace one another, such was BLBI, Bailout Century, lizard-crocodile Indonesian Police-Corruption Eradication Commission and Hambalang cases. It is now the black sheep of civil society against agrarian conflicts and also environment destruction that have been going on and have never be resolved.

In this democracy situation today, discretion of arbitrary rulers in new order era, can be categorized as corruption when it is carried on not in accordance with its rules. Or, even if the arbitrary discretion is in accordance with its rules, then it could be mean that the rules themselves are corrupt and need to be revised.

Operation of caught red-handed of the Corruption Eradication Commission against North Sulawesi Governer, Nur Alam, was one example of rulers’ discretion who tended to make profit of themselves – and categorized into corruption. Nur Alam made a discretion in form of issuing permit to PT Anugerah Harisma Barakah which had carried out illegal exploration at Buton Island. Other than that, there were also business permits for companies by regional officers who allowed corporations burned down forests up to terminating their cases in court. And there are still so many more cases which are on the spotlight of civil society organs.

Regarding to this, there was an activity carried out by ICW which was a National Seminar on “Conserve Forests, Not Corruption” on Thursday, August 2016. ICW made corruption done by regional officers upon forest damage, illegal logging and forest fires as black sheep. According to ICW, corruption conserves illegal logging activities on forest area and allowing corporation in their production activities not heeding on environment conservation.

Other than allowing it, there were also a lot other discretions which should be suspected as corruption, in term of releasing forest area. Most forest area was released to businessmen, instead of common people who live surrounding forest area. It was strongly suspected that those businessmen have more capable in bribing regional officers than common people. The outcome is big corporation can continue on doing deforestation, while common people should continue on dealing with legal cases for being denied of their rights to harness forest products. Such cases were happened for example at Indramayu and other regions in Indonesia.

There was also Jatam which carried out a Media Discussion and Press Conference: “Saving Environment of State Economy by Targeting Corruption of Mining Corporation” on August 29 and 30, 2016. It was also done after Nur Alam caught by KPK. In both agendas, Jatam mentioned that there was relation between corruption and damaging practices of mining – though administratively they are legal based on Mining Permits issue.

One critic that was emerged was how the criteria of Clean and Clear (CnC) obliged by the government in order to obtain mining permission in this country are so simple. The existing CnC today was only based on Administrative Law; Clean is in a sense of legal administratively clean, while Clear is in a sense of clean region, as in no population, housing and not forest area. CnC should also be watched out by the Ministries of Energy and Human Resources, Environment and Forestry, and Financial Affairs in order to ensure there are no danger impacts to the environment, no changes to forests functions including their taxes and contributions to the country would not be absent. Therefore without necessarily needed moratorium, the seemingly legal minings can be terminated.

There was another form of corruption found by KPA at the same time in Blitar. KPA found corruption in cultivation right administering over land that has already been lived on by and cultivated by villagers, not to mention it still has certificate of agrarian reform from back than in 1960. There was ridiculousness in the cultivation right administering to PT Holcim in Blitar. It should have been given upon empty State Land – without population living on it and no one cultivating on it – and out of any legal disputes.

However, the problem did not stop there, the Ministry of Environment and Forestry also determined forest area on populated area with their cultivation area at Blitar, as a swap of forest area which would be used by PT Holcim in Tuban. The forest area determination was even without care to the CnC rules, because it was clearly populated area complete with social and common facilities. KPA reported and audience this directly to General Director of Forestry and Environment Plan of the Ministry of Environment and Forestry.

Lastly, there was also a finding of KPA and Sukamulya Villagers Struggle Forum on corruption in the process of West Java International Airport Construction, at Kertajati, Majalengka. According to the villagers – and we are investigating on it – there were so many oddity in the process so called compensation by provincial government. Instead of compensation, the evicted villagers were in fact suffered loss because the payment was not even able to cover for suitable new homes and rice fields in other area, such were in their possession before.

This is the chronology: the villagers were asked to sign on compensation documents at night and it was situated in a long line. They were certainly tired and already did not bother to what they were signed on. As the result, compensation they were hoped for turned into loss, when for example there should have been 300 million rupiahs one of villagers received, instead upon those situation above most of the money was mutated to other account and left him only 100 million rupiahs –the number was of course differed according to how much land, house and yard they had.

In conclusion, corruption in agrarian and natural resources does not only create loss to the state – it is also not only as a mean to disgrace among political elites – it certainly makes people suffers. Three most actual and direct impacts of corruption in agrarian and natural resources are: 1) deforestation, 2) post-mining of natural resources, and 3) agrarian conflicts between people and state-corporations. Furthermore, corruption eradication is not only an agenda of elites. From now on, it should be an agenda of civil society who care for environment and inequality.


Other Opinion..

National Secretariat KPA:

Jl. Pancoran Indah I Blok E3 No.1
Komplek Liga Mas Indah, Pancoran
Jakarta Selatan 12760, Indonesia
Telp: +62 21 7984540 Fax: +62 21 7993934