KIP demands clarity from land agency over information disputes
Paper Edition | Page: 5
The National Land Agency (BPN) has been urged to impose Article 19 of Law No. 14/2008 on Public Information Openness, following an increase in the number of information disputes with the public.
The law stipulates public institutions to conduct consequence tests on information considered as
classified by its internal regulation, said Central Information Commission (KIP) head Abdul Rahman Ma’mun.
Abdul said that the KIP was handling at least seven cases of information disputes between the community and the BPN.
“Consequence tests are important for providing the public with the reasons why particular information has to be withheld from people,” said Abdul.
Abdul pointed to the Agriculture Minister/BPN Head Regulation No. 3/1997 on the implementation of Government Regulation (PP) No. 24/1997 on land registration. The regulation stipulates that copies of land registration documents can only be given to the stakeholders or those whose names are mentioned in the ownership certificate of the land in question.
“There is a need to redefine who are considered as stakeholders,” he said.
“The BPN should not see the public information openness law as a threat but as a part of the solution. Clarity on land ownership can reduce the escalation of land conflict,” Abdul said.
Abdul was in Yogyakarta to lead an adjudication court for a land information dispute between a local resident and the BPN Yogyakarta Provincial Office. Widarti was trying to access information regarding the chronology of how the land that she claimed as hers had now been changed to the ownership of another party.
At the trial, the head of the BPN Yogyakarta land dispute and conflict division, Bandang Priyoko, said that his office could not reveal the information to Widarti because
she was not a stakeholder. He quoted the aforementioned Agriculture Minister/BPN Head Regulation as a reference.
“We don’t know why the regulation was made because we are just implementers,” Bandang told the court.
The trial was adjourned, with the agenda of examining the documents considered as classified. The trial is expected to decide whether the documents can be categorized as classified.
While the KIP demanded more transparency on the land ruling, farmers in North Sumatra, under the Joint Secretariat of Land Reform, have demanded that police release 68 farmers who have been detained for their alleged involvement in a number of land conflicts within the last six months.
“Many farmers have been shot, arrested and assaulted by the police when they were in the middle of a land conflict with either state-owned companies or private companies,” said Ahmadsyah, the organization’s spokesman.
“This is proof that the police have treated the farmers unfairly and have defended those with more money,” he said during a rally recently, which involved farmers, university students and activists.
Ahmadsyah said the farmers were caught and arrested without any strong evidence. The faith of some farmers, he continued, remained unknown.
“Most of the farmers have been in detention for six months. As of today, we have never heard from them,” he said.
In response to the protest, North Sumatra Police spokesman Comr. Heru Prakoso said that the police could not just release the farmers as there was a procedure to be followed.