The Jakarta Post
Agrarian and Spatial Planning Minister Sofyan Djalil has blamed Indonesia’s poor land certification system for land conflicts occurring across the country, including in Medan, North Sumatra, where the incidents have been severe.
“Land conflicts occur very easily here,” Sofyan said when distributing land certificates in the provincial capital on Tuesday.
The higher the price of a piece of land, the easier a conflict emerges because many are still uncertified, he added.
It is estimated that 80 million parcels of land across the country are uncertified.
When a piece of land has no certificate of ownership, Sofyan said, it attracts land syndicates and fraudsters using fake documents, causing disputes with the people who inhabit the land.
Therefore, Agrarian and Spatial Planning is targeting to have all uncertified parcels of land certified by 2025, he added.
Compared to other countries in the region, such as South Korea and Taiwan, Indonesia is lagged behind in terms of land certification, Sofyan said.
Medan Mayor Dzulmi Eldin said that land conflicts occurring in the city were relatively complicated and had existed since the early years of Indonesia’s independence. At that time, the government initiated a national land-reclaiming program as an attempt to seize assets from the Dutch.
“We want to stop land conflicts in this region so that there will be no more land incidents claiming people’s lives,” Dzulmi said.
According to the North Sumatra chapter for the Commission for Missing People and Victims of Violence (Kontras North Sumatra), land conflicts often lead to brawls and even fatalities.
One example of a deadly land conflict involved concessions formerly managed by state-owned plantation company PT Perkebunan Nusantara (PTPN) II, which measures nearly 6,000 hectares.
Law expert Syafruddin Kalo of the North Sumatra University’s School of Law said that for about 18 years, the parcels of land remained abandoned, prompting local farmers to cultivate them.
They were later distributed by the government.