M Iqbal, Jakarta – Victims of forced land evictions at the Cikuasa Beach and Kramat Raya in Cilegon City, Banten province, have declared that they will golput or abstain from voting in the 2019 elections. The total number of voters in the two areas amounts to some 3,000 people.
The victims of the forced evictions have elected to golput because there has still been no clarity on the issue of compensation from the Cilegon municipal government (pemkot). Yet they have already won their case in court and the Cilegon government is obliged to compensate them.
They were evicted by the Cilegon government in August 2016 and for more than two years residents have depended on the generosity of other local people to make ends meet
“So we came to the conclusion that we residents of Cikuasa and Kramat who have suffered the effects of the forced evictions by the Cilegon City government will golput. This year there will be no election for us and we will not heed any regulations related to the coming elections”, Cikuasa Beach resident Erik Heriansyah told journalists at the site of the forced evictions on Wednesday March 13.
The residents claimed that they will not listen to any government lobbying to stop them from golput until there is clarity on compensation. Heriansyah said that the decision was taken through a traditional consensus decision making process (musyawarah) involving all of the residents who unanimously decided to golput in the 2019 elections.
“With the approach of these elections we have taken a decision that 3,000 of us victims of the evictions will golput. This is the total number of voters, we have the data that these are the residents of Cikuasa and Kramat Raya because it is made up of 12 kampungs [residential areas]”, he said.
Another resident, Aan Resnawati, said that they see the elections as pointless when resident’s futures are unclear. They are simply asking that their homes which stood on land owned by state-owned rail company PT Kareta Api Indonesia be rebuilt.
“Residents here are asking for compensation, not compensation for land because I understand that this was not my land, but the state’s. I’m asking for compensation for my home, if they want to evict us from our place of residents”, they asserted. (rvk/asp)
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “3.000 Warga Korban Gusuran Cilegon Golput di Pemilu 2019”.]