Agung Nugraha
Anthropologist Foresters

In the past month, the polemic over the Land Bill among stakeholders in the forestry sector has been rampant. The pro-and more dominant views are contra-coloring the attitudes and views of foresters from various professions. They openly in various forums and the opportunity to demand and even sue that the ratification of the Land Bill be postponed to provide a deadline for the parties to be able to explore and provide input on the draft bill.

The target is clear. The forestry corps can ensure the prevention of negative impacts from the application of this bill. Both negative impacts include the emergence of new legal uncertainties (collision of authority between agency ministries and agency ministries with regional governments), threat of conflict with greater excalation (overlapping permits and management rights and licensed forest use with new permit holders or TORA recipients) , up to the concern of efforts to bleach (read: legalization) the use of land in forest areas that has been going on for many years on a very wide scale. And of course the value of the loss is very large.

The question is, is it true that the foresters community has been voiced by academics, professors, business associations. NGO activists, as well as various other parties above? The next question is whether the objection and rejection will be effective enough to stem the efforts to ratify the Land Bill. What are the political, legal and social implications of the ratification of the Land Bill regarding the existence of relevant Ministries and State Institutions, the certainty of forestry business law and the guarantee of the sustainability of environmental functions. The questions above hang in the minds of most foresters, but it seems that to this day it is still difficult to answer.

This is very important, because the Land Bill is extraordinarily strategic. Philosophically, sociologically and juridically not only will regulate the earth and all its contents both above and inside the body of the earth, including the territorial waters, even the SPACE and AREAS so that the parallel with this is of course among the farming, plantation, mining, coastal communities and the ocean should also shout loudly and protest. In fact, there is an anomaly phenomenon again where foresters shout in silence. Forestry struggles in solitude. While other parties did not respond to the Land Bill in a frenzy and were worried about forestry. The rhetorical question is whether forestry and foresters have indeed been abandoned? Or more extreme has forestry been considered a common enemy? A fight that will certainly not be balanced because the power-pendulum politics are no longer siding with forestry politics.

Let’s look carefully at the points of the Land Bill in accordance with the latest version received. Overall the Land Bill consists of XV Chapters, 157 Articles (the number of verses is still changing and has not been fixed).

Based on the scrutiny of the chapters and chapters and chapters along with the following explanatory texts, there are FIVE things on the draft bill that are substantially very critical, and therefore need clarification because they are certain to have a real impact on forests and forestry. Both in the context of ministry authority, business law certainty and other environmental elements.

Is that ?

First, the bill according to its name should only regulate the land. More concretely, this bill only applies to the control, ownership and use of land rights. This is in accordance with the KLHK proposal in various discussion meetings. Included in the initial draft of the bill. But in reality in the latest draft there has been a change, that besides the RIGHT TO LAND, the Government (Read: President) applies also to the control, ownership and utilization of SPACE and AREA. Juridically, this is indeed in accordance with the constitution, but further regulation of delegation of authority turns out to be delegated to the Minister. In this Land Bill, the Minister in question is the Minister in charge of LAND and SPACE SYSTEM. Political acrobatics took place, which initially was the authority of the Minister, which was brought to the President. But then delegated to the technical minister in the field of land and space. In the concept of the previous bill, this has not yet emerged. A breakthrough that is legally very smart, even though forestry and foresters are likened to those steps as well as stabbing “naked friends”.

Second, besides the President, it turns out that what the Government means in this Land Bill is not only the Minister who is related and in charge of land and spatial matters, but also the Regional Government carried out by the agency in charge of land affairs.

Second, besides the President, it turns out that what the Government means in this Land Bill is not only the Minister who is related and in charge of land and spatial matters, but also the Regional Government carried out by the agency in charge of land affairs. Referring to Law No. 23 of 2014 concerning Regional Government, regional autonomy is placed at the level of the Provincial Government (Read: Governor). So, with a spatial or RTRWP approach, the Governor has the authority to give permits according to spatial planning and evaluate permits that are not in accordance with spatial planning. Including permits in space and area. Whereas in the spatial plan law, permits that may be issued by the regional government are permits in the APL area, aka non-forestry cultivation. The second sledgehammer is given to forestry and foresters through this draft bill. Very delicate, but without realizing it is amazingly sharp slashed like a bullet. Slowly but surely forestry and foresters will become weaker ……

Third, related to the item above, an explanation of the definition of space and region is not found in the General provisions. In contrast to land and land, in general terms, the nomenclature of space and region has not emerged so that the presence of these two words has no clear understanding, both legally and technically. Like a blank check, the Minister and the Governor can make a definition of space and area in accordance with their “interests”. Yes, law and politics are like two sides of a coin. Inseparable. Amazingly again in the previous Land Bill texts, these two words turned out to be nonexistent. That is, his presence is only in the last minute minutes. Like football, a goal in injury time will bring the winning team. It can be ascertained that this will cause enormous social, economic, political and environmental implications.

Fourth, this bill seems to provide a stronger legal umbrella to realize the agenda of the Agrarian Reform which has been the vision and commitment of President Jokowi. Indeed, agrarian reform through TORA is not only in forest areas, but also in non-forest areas covering an area of ​​4 million hectares. However, it must be admitted that TORA’s biggest target is precisely from the forest area – at least its target is 12 million hectares – which to this day the realization is still relatively small, and even then it is carried out through a long and winding process.

TORA’s breakthrough through social forestry and even Presidential Regulation No. 88 of 2017 turned out to be not as expected. Still very limited. Again, accusations of index fingers point to the forestry party as a “rigid” party holding authority and it is considered difficult to release the area (forest).

On the other hand, on the various reality of delays in the region, forestry also did not dare to take a breakthrough step in the settlement. The glasses of the parties to the above issues tend to be left alone. The impression is hung without clarity of decision. In this bill, it was stated explicitly that the Minister (Read the Minister of ATR) as an official carrying out the President’s mandate to do (a) Identification; (b) Verification, and (c) Determination of TORA. Please see and compare the schemes and hierarchies with Presidential Regulation No. 88 of 2017 …

Finally, about the Customary Law Society (MHA). So far, the issue of customary forests has become something difficult to realize, even though the legal umbrella has been broken down very clearly through MK Decree No. 35 of 2012. That the existence of customary forests is no longer in the jurisdiction of State forests. The reason is, even though there is a legal umbrella, the implementation is still constrained by the absence of implementing regulations. So far, the mechanism for determining MHA is within the authority of the Regional Government, while the determination of ulayat rights, including in the form of customary forests, remains the authority of the Ministry of Environment and Forestry.

With this Land Bill, the concept was broken down because the Minister of ATR and the Regional Government were now given the authority to determine customary rights of MHA. Of course besides setting the status of MHA. The term is authorized by one package. Obviously, this provides a perspective for accelerating the settlement of tenure conflicts and customary forests going forward.

Although of course this is only a hypothesis and hope. Still not necessarily the hypothesis was proven in the field considering the variable land and forest are very many, complex and complex. Often these variables are far beyond the reach of legal – formal authority. And, therefore, it still has the potential to become a double-edged sword in its execution because “stowaways” may have been monitoring and ready to take advantage of this opportunity. Or, could they be parties behind the scenes? Wallahualam.

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