Traditional community groups urge Jokowi to end liberal and capitalistic policies

Source – August 18, 2023
Widodo giving speech on draft 2024 budget at parliamentary complex in Jakarta – August 16, 2023 (Agus Suparto)

Singgih Wiryono, Jakarta – President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo is being asked to stop pursuing political goals and policies that are considered to lean in the direction of liberalism or are capitalistic.

This was conveyed during a press conference by three social organisations, the Nusantara Traditional Community Alliance (AMAN), the Agrarian Reform Consortium (KPA) and the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi) on Friday August 18.

"[We are] urging the Joko Widodo administration to stop [pursuing] political goals and national policies that are liberal and capitalistic", said AMAN Second Deputy for Advocacy and Traditional Community Political Participation, Erasmus Cahyadi.

They are urging Widodo to return to policies that are in accordance with the mandate of the 1945 Constitution. "So that justice, sovereignty and prosperity are again centred on the ordinary people", said Cahyadi.

Meanwhile policies that are considered liberal and capitalistic are those that sacrifice traditional communities and natural resources.

The KPA notes that throughout the Widodo administration from 2015 to 2022 some 2,710 agrarian conflicts have occurred in Indonesia.

"The explosion of conflicts has been dominated by the plantation sector which saw as many as 1,023 conflicts breaking out over this period", said Cahyadi.

Similar data was revealed by Walhi, which said that 72 percent of agrarian conflicts are caused by private company business operations and 13 percent by national strategic projects (PSN).

This has also had an impact on traditional communities in Indonesia. AMAN data shows that throughout 2017-2022 there were 301 cases of traditional community land being taken over covering some 8.5 million hectares.

"On the other hand, there are 214 regional policies that acknowledge and protect the rights of traditional communities that are not yet broad enough to protect traditional communities, because the central government is reluctant to change the recognition mechanisms, which are sectoral and complicated as well as expensive, to ones that are practical, cheap and simple", said Cahyadi.

Conversely, the amount of land given out to palm oil companies continues to grow. The government is said to have provided some 5.6 million hectares of land for palm oil between 2016 and 2022.

Palm oil companies control land covering 16.8 million hectares, a fact that is the complete opposite of Widodo's pledge to distribute 9 million hectares of land to farmers to agrarian reform.

"If only that pledge was kept, it would be able to reduce the imbalance of land control (as cited), unfortunately this agrarian reform has not been pursued in accordance with its aims", concluded Cahyadi.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Jokowi Diminta Hentikan Kebijakan yang Dinilai Liberal dan Kapitalis".]