Government accused of using capital city move to 'erase corporate sins'

Source – January 20, 2022
YouTube screen shot of Presidential Secretariats' design concept for new capital city – Undated (Komaps)

Vitorio Mantalean, Jakarta – The Civil Society Coalition has criticised the new capital city (IKN) project for being a megaproject of the oligarchy which threatens the safety of the ordinary people.

This criticism cannot be separated from the fact that the deliberations on the Draft Law on the IKN (RUU IKN) and its ratification by the House of Representatives (DPR) were extremely fast and done with minimal public participation.

The RUU IKN was ratified into law after only 43 days at a DPR plenary meeting which was rushed through on January 18.

"The government's position of forcing through the capital city move also reflects the lack of sensitivity of those in power to current social conditions, [where people] are facing difficulties after almost two years of being hit by the Covid-19 pandemic", read a press release by the Coalition on Thursday January 20.

"It would be much better if the funds for realising the capital city move were used to fulfill the basic needs of citizens (healthcare, education and so forth) which are currently facing difficulties", said the Coalition.

Moving the capital city is nothing more than a project of the oligarchy, according to the Coalition, because it appears to be an effort to bring together the new state capital with the business centres of several corporations whose concession areas are within the new capital city.

The Coalition believes there is an effort to "eliminate the sins" of these corporations.

"According to records by the East Kalimantan JATAM (Mining Advocacy Network), there are 94 abandoned open pit mines in the area of the IKN, where responsibility for carrying out reclamation and post mining [restoration] should be taken by the corporations, which will now be taken over and become the state's responsibility", they wrote.

So it becomes clear why moving the capital city is being done super fast and without transparency.

Yet there are a great many who will be directly impacted upon by this project ranging from local people and traditional communities in Kutai Kartanegara and North Penajam Paser, state civil servants who are living in Jakarta, to the people of Central Sulawesi who will be faced by environmental damage as a flow on from mining projects in their area in order to supply infrastructure and electrical power for the new state capital.

"The decision to move the capital city to East Kalimantan is a political decision without a clear basis, was not participatory, and not transparent as stipulated under Law Number 12/2011 on the Formulation of Legislation", said the Coalition.

The Civil Society Coalition is made up of the East Kalimantan JATAM, the Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation (YLBHI) and its 17 Legal Aid Foundation (LBH) offices, the Srikandi Lestari Foundation, the Sajogyo institute and #CleanupIndonesia.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Koalisi Masyarakat Sipil Tuding Pembangunan IKN sebagai Megaproyek Oligarki yang Ancam Keselamatan Rakyat".]