The residents of Sumberklampok village in Buleleng regency, north Bali, have yet to abandon their struggle to claim a vast expanse of state-owned land as their own. On Tuesday morning, they staged a rally to convey their aspirations to the Bali Legislative Council. Hundreds of protesters, including women, carried banners during the rally. “Stop perampasan tanah rakyat” (Stop robbing the people’s land), “subsidi untuk petani kecil” (subsidies for farmers), were two messages on the banners. Another banner also said “katakan tidak pada WTO” (say no to WTO).
Sumberklampok village head, Putu Artana, said that the villagers would not surrender the fight for their rights. “We have been struggling for many years and we will keep fighting to get our rights. What we demand is our right to the plot of land that we and our ancestors have lived on for so many years,” Artana said. Despite their more than 40 years of effort through various official channels and their recent “extreme” protest, during which they closed the Gilimanuk-Singaraja road — the main artery for goods and daily supplies — a concrete and satisfying result has still evaded them.
In the latest development, Bali Governor Made Mangku Pastika stated clearly that he could not make any promises to the villagers, citing various administrative procedures that should be met before the provincial administration could recommend the transfer of land rights to the National Land Agency (BPN). Sumberklampok village measures over 600 hectares and was once a plantation owned and managed by the Dutch administration. The plantations’ workers were mostly from local villages, as well as people who were evacuated during Mount Agung’s major eruption in the 1960s and former refugees from Timor Leste.
Nowadays, the village is home to more than 800 families, totaling around 3,200 people. Since the early 1970s, the villagers have fighting for what they see as their entitlement to the land but have always failed to get a clear answer from either the Buleleng administration or the provincial administration. The villagers have been referring to the 1960 Agrarian Law that stipulates ownership of all the formerly Dutch-owned and managed plantations and land must be granted to farmers or residents. The villagers have asked Pastika to issue a recommendation letter for land entitlement, saying that this was required by the BPN so the land rights could be transferred to them.
They reasoned that the land had been abandoned and should be owned by those who had been living in the area over the years. However, BPN Bali office head, Heri Susanto, previously stated that the land in Sumberkelampok village was not abandoned. According to Heri, based on Law No. 86/1959, land previously owned by the Dutch administration now belonged to the provincial administration. Heri also explained that Government Regulation No. 11/2010 on abandoned land stipulated that land owned by government institutions was exempt from the regulation. “We simply don’t understand why the BPN is being inconsistent on this matter.
We have BPN’s letter saying the land was likely abandoned. A BPN official previously said that all we had to do was get a recommendation letter from the governor,” Artana said with confusion. Secretary general of the agrarian renewal consortium (KPA), Iwan Nurdin, who accompanied the villagers during the rally, said that the land should belong to the villagers who had managed it for years. He questioned the provincial government’s stance of claiming the land as its own. “There are many cases where the rights of farmers and villagers have been taken by the government.
We demand the legislative council establish a special team tasked with solving the many agrarian conflicts,” Iwan said. Representative of Bali’s agrarian renewal consortium Ngurah Karyadi alleged that there were investors behind the case. “We are worried that the provincial administration actually wants to hand over the land to investors,” he said.
source : bali daily