More than 100 islands in the Widi Islands, commonly known as the Widi Reserve in South Halmahera, North Maluku, are to be auctioned on a foreign real estate sales site, Sotheby’s Concierge Auctions.
The auction will be held between 8th-14th December 2022, according to CNN Indonesia.
Indonesian law states that non-Indonesians cannot legally purchase islands in the country. However, the sale of Widi Reserve is circumventing these rules by allowing foreigners to acquire shares in PT Leadership Islands Indonesia (LII). Then, the owner will be free to develop the island as they wish.
Charlie Smith, executive vice president for Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) at Sotheby’s Concierge Auctions expects the bid for the islands to be significant.
“Every billionaire can own a private island, but only one can own this exclusive opportunity spread over 100 islands,” he said in a press statement.
“Small islands can only be managed by private individuals or certain individuals with certain maximum area limits,” said Mahardi in an official statement on Wednesday, 23rd November 2022.
Both the private company and the local provincial government have already obtained the management permit to manage the Widi Islands, which was granted to PT Leadership Islands Indonesia (LII) a long time ago.
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Yet, there has been no realisation of the construction until news of the auction emerged. This was conveyed by Mahardi based on the report he received.
Mahardi also added that the investment cooperation process with foreign parties must be carried out in accordance with statutory provisions if small islands management permits have been obtained by a company or a national legal subject.
He emphasised that Indonesia’s sovereignty over all islands within the Indonesian archipelago need not be doubted and has been recognised by the international community.
“Parties who are interested in managing, not owning, small island areas must obtain permission from the government. If there is a violation of statutory provisions, then there can be sanctions that can be imposed,” he said.