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Jakarta Post

Ahok declines to meet with protesting fishermen

  • Callistasia Anggun Wijaya
    Callistasia Anggun Wijaya

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Wed, April 20, 2016   /  01:58 pm
Ahok declines to meet with protesting fishermen In a demonstration at the offices of Jakarta’s Legal Aid Foundation (LBH) on Tuesday, fishermen display fish they say was caught in the Jakarta Bay, refuting the city governor's claims that the bay is too polluted for fishing. (thejakartapost.com/Callistasia Anggun Wijaya)

Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama has declined to meet with fishermen protesting in front of City Hall on Tuesday and insisted that fish caught in the Jakarta Bay is not edible, as the area is heavily polluted.

“Most of the fish in Jakarta comes from Karimata, Belitung and the Natuna Sea, not from the Jakarta Bay. Do you want to fool me? You can’t, I come from an island, too,” said Ahok, responding to the protesters, who mocked Ahok with fish they claim was caught in the Jakarta Bay.

The Indonesian Traditional Fishermen's Association (KNTI) on Tuesday morning met with journalists at Jakarta’s Legal Aid Foundation (LBH Jakarta) to voice its objections to the Jakarta Bay land reclamation project after the central government decided to temporarily halt the project while calling on the city administration to address the impacts of the project.

The fishermen said their earnings were declining since the project had started as the land reclamation work, they claimed, had caused environment damage. The project had also increased their operating costs as they had to fish farther away from the coastline.

The reclamation project has sparked a public debate following the Corruption Eradication Commission’s (KPK) arrest of city councilor Muhamad Sanusi, who allegedly accepted a bribe from development company PT Agung Podomoro Land (APL). The city council was deliberating two bills that would become the legal basis for the reclamation if passed into bylaws.

The KPK also named as suspects the CEO and another official of APL, one of the concession holders in the reclamation project.

Ahok slammed KNTI for only protesting against the Agung Sedayu Group and Agung Podomoro Land, saying that the organization was inconsistent, because even fishermen’s houses in Muara Angke, North Jakarta, were built on reclaimed land. He said KNTI executives only sought to make themselves popular through the protest.

Ahok said nobody had protested against his predecessor, Fauzi Bowo, when he issued a permit for PT Karya Citra Nusantara (KCN) to carry out reclamation work in Marunda. “You’re all unfair. Ancol, Pluit, Muara Angke, Tanjung Priuk are all reclaimed land. People aren’t protesting against that,” Ahok said.

Meanwhile, LBH Jakarta lawyer Nelson Simamora expressed his disappointment over Ahok not siding with the fishermen, who had tried to express their aspirations while using their Jakarta identity cards as evidence that the fish they had caught was from the Jakarta Bay.

“As a governor, he should meet fishermen and hold a dialogue with them. His statement shows that he wants to expel the fishermen, for they are poor people,” Nelson told thejakartapost.com on Tuesday.

Separately, KNTI chairman Riza Damanik claimed Ahok did not apply logic to the reclamation problem. Ahok wanted to destroy KCN land because it violated regulations but did not intend to tear down reclaimed islets, although the construction violated the law, Riza claimed.

Earlier on Tuesday, at a press conference, KNTI urged the administration to revoke all of the reclamation permits following the moratorium on the project ordered by the central government. (bbn)

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