To secure the country’s defense and security, the Indonesian government hastened the registration of 100-plus islets around the country’s border areas.
Minister Susi Pudjiastuti of the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries made this effort to bar private entities from illegal control and management of the islets. This will cover both domestic and foreign entities.
These islets “are in border areas, proper management of them is essential in upholding state sovereignty,” according to Pudjiastuti.
The registration of the islets will be done through the Agrarian and Spatial Planning Ministry. After the registration, the islets will be solely owned by the state.
To strengthen the move’s legality, President Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo will be issuing a presidential decree.
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In the past, the government had land management and ownership problems in about 14,000-plus small islands across Indonesia. The total number of which constituted 98 percent of the total disputed islands across the country.
Among these issues were the illegal sale of the islands to foreign entities, private occupation by investors and their representatives and foreign ownership claims.
Aside from the extensive land registration, the ministry is currently investigating hundreds of islets under illegal occupation. These islets are allegedly occupied by both local and foreign investors.
Pudjiastuti has expressed that small islands could be developed in terms of agriculture, tourism and industry, and cites the 1960 Agrarian Law, which states that private entities are only allowed to own at most 70 percent of the total islet area that is possible through a right-to-own certificate (SHM). Thirty percent of the area should be owned by the state, which can be used as a public area or be under its protection.
Foreigners, however, are not allowed to own a SHM. Instead, they may legally apply for either a right to use, build, rent or cultivate the areas.
For these islets, however, only right-to-manage (HPL) certificates will be issued. The government will control and protect the said islets.
1,106 islets in the territory will be registered with the United Nations to secure the country’s sovereignty over the areas. To date, Indonesia has registered 13,466 islands with the UN.
Image credits: Exposure Guide, Forbes