The Riau Islands administration has decided to postpone a reclamation project at Tanjung Piayu in Batam following the recent arrest of the province’s governor, Nurdin Basirun, by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) for alleged bribery.
The antigraft body named the governor a suspect last week over allegations that Nurdin had accepted bribes and unlawful gifts during the deliberation of the province’s zoning plan on coastal areas and small islands (RZWP3K)
Riau Islands RZWP3K special committee deputy head Iskandarsyah said that in addition to postponing the deliberation of the zoning plan, the provincial administration also decided to delay the reclamation project.
"We will stop deliberating the regional government regulations for an unspecified period of time," Iskandasyah told The Jakarta Post recently.
Iskandarsyah admitted that ever since the beginning of the deliberation, the zoning plan — which is to become the basis for the Riau Islands administration’s maritime development — had been intertwined with various personal interests.
The initial plan had 111 reclamation points throughout the province, however, the number had decreased sharply to only 45 points now, he said.
Apart from Nurdin, the KPK has also named Riau Islands Maritime Affairs Agency head Edy Sofyan and agency official Budi Hartono suspects for allegedly accepting bribes. Meanwhile, businessman Abu Bakar was named a suspect for allegedly handing out the illicit money.
According to the KPK, Abu Bakar filed a request in May for a reclamation project at Tanjung Piayu that would later be used as a resort and tourist area, even though the site was previously reserved for land cultivation and a protected forest. Nurdin later ordered Budi and Edy to assist Abu Bakar in getting the necessary permits.
Head of the Forest Protection Unit of the Riau Environment and Forestry Agency Lamhot Sinaga said it was still difficult to confirm the details of which reclamation points had been granted Nurdin’s permit and which had not.
Lamhot said the agency did not provide the environmental impact analysis (Amdal) for the projects. "We were not involved, so we did not know the locations,” he said. (ggq/afr)