Minister of Agrarian Affairs and Spatial Planning: “Delay to validation of Agrarian Draft Law occurred at the last minute”

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(photo: IO/Dan)

IO, Jakarta – The Minister of Agrarian Affairs and Spatial Planning (Agraria dan Tata Ruang – “ATR”) / Chairman of the National Land Agency (Badan Pertanahan Nasional – “BPN”) Sofyan Djalil responded to the delay of the validation of the Agrarian Draft Law. He believes that the Government needs to communicate this Draft Law more clearly to the public in order to prevent misunderstandings. “During the last Plenary Meeting, our law is not the only one being delayed. Oth­er laws were also being delayed for being controversial and needing fur­ther discussion, such as the Crimi­nal Code Law. We hope that people would understand these laws after we explain them properly. We should give people time to discuss these laws and the things that they do not know yet about it. We will clarify all mis­communication later,” he said in a Press Conference for the New Capi­tal City and its Electronic Account­ability Rights held at the Ministry of ATR’s Office in Jakarta on Tuesday (24/09/2019).

Sofyan stated that the delay was decided at the last minute. “Even though the substance of the law was already excellent, last minute discus­sions discovered that some points need to be talked over,” he said. “However, I hope that the House of Representatives (DPR) would contin­ue discussing it next year.”

Sofyan stated that some of the issues cause misunderstanding, in­cluding the land bank issue. People think that it would mean that lands will be possessed by private parties, even though it is really not the case. “I read the news, the social media. I think the primary issue of this Law is insufficient communication. For ex­ample, let’s take the suspicion of land bank, while we are really establishing this bank in order to make it easier to achieve the purposes of agrarian reform. This facility would make it easier to organize spatial planning for social, general, and economic equal­ization purposes. The people might be suspicious because they think that “land bank” is a private bank that stores up land, while it actually belongs to the State,” he said.

He further stated that the Govern­ment is currently seeking solutions for foreign ownership of property. “This is yet another misunderstand­ing. The Draft Law stipulates that for­eign citizens or corporations cannot have permanent Building Utilization Rights (hak guna bangunan – “HGB”). They cannot have permanent pos­session either, only utilization rights. Ownership of apartment is allowed, because strata title ownership means that land ownership and building ownership are separated. We are looking for the solution that would allow people to buy buildings without land,” he said.

Minister Sofyan also denied that the Government is planning to do away with Building Construction Permit (Izin Mendirikan Bangunan – “IMB”). “Plans relating to IMB are still being discussed among the Govern­ment. It is not yet a policy,” he said. “The plan is still being discussed, including the relevant regulations. IMB is regulated by law, after all. The truth is there will be a change from a single permit to a number of stan­dards. However, we will need to im­prove supervision. Now the option is whether the permit will be made in a set register or what. Therefore, there is no need for bureaucrats to men­tion permits. All the time, we have been setting up registrations. We are providing a lot of options in order to make sure that the people can have the necessary complete paperwork quickly.”

Sofyan further stated that the plan developed when he met with a developer who is a member of Real Estate Indonesia (REI). He stated that new regulations concerning IMB are necessary. “During that time, I said that we need to update our approach on IMB when I had talks with REI members,” he said. Furthermore, the plan to delete IMB also came up after President Joko Widodo expressed his disappointment that permit process­es in Indonesia are considered to be not investor-friendly. The suggestion to simplify the “permit” requirement to “standard” requirement was then submitted for entry in an omnibus law that would allow the Government to revoke a number of regulatory pro­visions. “IMB is included in Laws that cannot be revoked using Ministerial Regulations. There should be a law that changes this,” he said

Sofyan stated that there are many violations related to IMB, wherein the actual construction does not comply with the validated permit. “There are so many IMB violations in the field – a permit is applied for the construction of a 200 square meter building, but the actual construction is 400 square meter and nobody cares. Permits about specific building standards are not executed accordingly, but no­body cares. In other words, nobody controls IMB implementation after a permit is issued,” he said.

Sofyan further stated that the Ministry of ATR is also busy with the steps for moving the Capital City from Java to Kalimantan. The 180,000 ha to be used for constructing the new capital city is currently divided into 4 parts, to be developed in an equal number of stages. The size of the first stage area 40,000 ha. “That 180,000 ha is the total area size. In other words, we are planning for a growing city. The primary area will start at 40,000 ha. It will then be expanded gradually to reach the total 180,000 ha in the future,” he said.

Sofyan finally stated that half of the new capital city will be green open space, including preserved forest. He guarantees that this forest will not be disturbed throughout the construc­tion of the new capital. (Dan)