Indonesia's land acquisition bill will intensify landgrabbing, says Asian peasant group

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APC | 17 December 2011


JAKARTA, Indonesia – The Asian Peasant Coalition (APC) condemn the Indonesian parliament for approving, on December 16, a long-awaited land acquisition bill. The APC says the bill will intensify landgrabbing in Indonesia.

“Land Acquisition Bill will heighten landgrabbing in Indonesia. Although the bill only applies to government projects, it will benefit privately operated projects on government-bought land. The government is relying on about $150 billion of private investment between 2010 and 2014 to overhaul its roads, railways and ports,” remarked Rahmat Ajiguna, Deputy Secretary General of the Asian Peasant Coalition (APC) and concurrent Secretary General of the Aliansi Gerakan Reforma Agraria (AGRA) based in Indonesia.

Lawmakers passed the legislation after The Land Procurement Parliamentary Special Committee and the government agreed on a draft of the bill on Dec. 14. And the controversial bill was passed despite a barrage of interruptions from members of the 560-strong parliament.

“It is not true that the bill is driven by public interest. The bill disregards traditional land rights and could lead to more conflict over land and forced expropriation of property. The bill covers infrastructure projects such as roads, dams, tunnels, railways, ports and airports, oil, gas and geothermal facilities, power plants and their distribution networks, hospitals and telecom networks. Though it is limited to government projects but it allows government to partner with state-owned firms and the private sector,” added Rahmat.

“While the Indonesian government says the bill may reinvigorate President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s push to double spending on roads, ports and airports to $140 billion and increase economic growth by an average 6.6 percent per year by the end of his term in 2014. It will result to increasing agrarian conflict that will affect thousands of peasants land and livelihoods. One example is the massacre of 30 people in Masuji that oppose the oil palm plantation PT Inhutani Silva in 2003 Until today, justice was not given on Masuji’s massacre and agrarian problems were never resolve,” Rahmat declared.

The law must be signed by President Yudhoyono within 30 days before taking effect.

The APC and AGRA is calling for the rejection of the Land Acquisition Bill. The group is also demanding to investigate the case of Masuji. Finally, they urge the government to provide land for the landless Indonesian people by implementing genuine land reform.

Original source: APC
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