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Jakarta Post

Debate Round 2: Fact Check

  • Kharishar Kahfi

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Tue, February 19, 2019   /   10:45 am
Debate Round 2: Fact Check Warm ending: Presidential candidate Joko “Jokowi” Widodo (left) embraces his contender, Prabowo Subianto, after the 2019 presidential candidate debate at Hotel Sultan in Jakarta on Sunday. The debate was focused on energy and food, natural resources and environment as well as infrastructure. (JP/Donny Fernando)

Joko “Jokowi” Widodo


In the past three years, there have been no forest and land fires [across the country].


According to Environment and Forestry Ministry data, thousands of hotspots were detected across the country from 2016 to 2018, although the number decreased from year to year.

After the debate, the ministry tweeted on its official account @KementerianLHK  to defend Jokowi’s statement: “The term of ‘no forest fires’ can be perceived [to mean there were] no forest- and land-fire-related disasters in the past several years. [...] Since 2017, there have been no transboundary haze incidents.”

On Monday, Jokowi corrected his statement. “What I meant was that we were able to handle forest and land fires in the last three years, so the number of fires was decreasing significantly,” Jokowi said on Monday, as quoted by


The government has fined 11 companies a total of about Rp 18.3 trillion (US$1.29 billion) for damaging the environment.


The Environment and Forestry Ministry sued 19 companies, accusing them of damaging the environment -- 11 of which were declared guilty in separate trials on charges ranging from starting forest fires to logging illegally. Those 11 companies were required to pay fines and restitution fees amounting to a total of Rp 18.9 trillion.

However, none of those companies have paid the fines and fees to the state, as the courts have not yet order them to comply with their rulings. The courts argued the execution of the sentences needed to wait for case reviews to be complete, despite a provision in the 2009 Supreme Court Law that stipulates that case reviews should not hinder the execution of court rulings.


We are producing 33 millions tons of rice while consuming about 29 million tons. This means we have a surplus of around three million tons.


In October 2018, Statistics Indonesia announced that last year an estimated 32.42 million tons of rice were produced, while households consumed 29.57 million tons, resulting in a 2.85 million tons surplus.

However, the Agriculture Ministry released different data, saying that last year there were a surplus was of 13.03 million tons of rice, since total production was estimated at 46.5 million tons and consumption at 33.47 million tons.

A researcher with the group AURIGA Nusantara group, Iqbal Damanik, said the disparity should be addressed “to prevent any mistakes in import regulation.”


In the last 4.5 years, there have practically been no conflicts caused by land acquisition for infrastructure projects.


According to a report issued by the Agrarian Reform Consortium in January, at least 16 agrarian conflicts related to infrastructure development involving 4,859 hectares of land took place in 2018.

The consortium argued the infrastructure construction projects across the country had employed land grabs and mass evictions, which were often followed by repressive actions by law enforcers.

Prabowo Subianto


The infrastructure construction under Jokowi administration has been done inefficiently. Infrastructure was being built without proper feasibility study, causing considerable financial losses.


An analyst with the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, Elrika Hamdi, said all contractors were required to do feasibility studies and prepare detailed engineering designs prior to construction.

“It is impossible for them to start the construction projects without fulfilling the requirements,” Elrika said.

However, the quality of the studies and designs differed, especially in relation to project's potential effect on the environment. Elrika added that feasibility studies and detailed engineering design documents should not only include technical and financial aspects, but also environmental conservation and protections for gender equality and indigenous communities.


Indonesian sugarcane farmers are harvesting their crops, but the government keeps importing millions of tons of sugar from other countries.


In September last year, the Trade Ministry agreed on allow 2.38 million tons of raw sugar to be imported for industrial needs. It approved 1.8 million tons ti be imported in the first half of 2018 and an additional 577,000 tons by the end of the year, reported.

The imports were approved even though about 2.1 million tons of sugar were produced domestically in 2018, the Indonesian Sugarcane Farmers Association reported in July last year.

“Combined with other factors, such as the remaining stock of sugar from 2017 and the amount of refined sugar that entered the consumer market, the national sugar stock could amount to 5.1 million tons. That exceeded our need for only 2.8 million tons in 2018,” APTRI said.


For dozens of years, big companies have disposed of their waste and avoided paying taxes.


Iqbal Damanik from AURIGA Nusantara said about 46.3 percent of palm oil companies paid their taxes, according to the National movement to Save Natural Resources, which was initiated by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK).

“The evaluation showed that tax revenues in the sector were only about Rp 18.13 trillion out of potential revenues of Rp 40 trillion. That means that there is about Rp 21.87 trillion in tax owed that have never been fully paid,” he said.