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Jakarta Post

EDITORIAL: Cementing options for people


    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Wed, March 22, 2017   /  08:07 am
EDITORIAL: Cementing options for people Kendeng farmers prepare to put their feet into concrete blocks in front of the Merdeka Palace, Jakarta, on March 15, to protest the construction of state cement manufacturer Semen Indonesia's factory in Rembang, Central Java. (JP/Bagas Rahadian)

Opposition to government policies is normal in a democracy like Indonesia, where setting public policy even at the lowest, subdistrict level involves consulting with people as the most affected party. Consultation definitely has its limits, but wisdom does not, in particular if a policy could harm not only the people but also nature, as in the case of the controversial plan to build a cement factory in the Central Java regency of Rembang. It is not because of the death of Patmi, a 48-year-old woman who joined fellow Kendeng farmers in a protest outside the State Palace, that the government should put the cement factory project on hold until the cause of the farmers is fully addressed. The problem with the cement factory is that it is legally flawed — after the Supreme Court ruled last October in favor of the farmers and ordered state-owned cement producer PT Semen Indonesia t...