Indonesia's non-government organizations (NGOs) urged President Joko Widodo and Parliament to cancel mineral and coal bill draft - Photo: Privacy.

JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories) – The government finally submitted 938 problem inventory list, increased from 883 points earlier, on the mineral and coal bill to the House of Representative on late Wednesday (09/25) after being discussed since April 2018. Its included the limitation of foreign investment in mining. The aim is to provide definite rules regarding the maximum amount of foreign investment.

It said business entities holding mining business licenses and special mining business permits are prohibited from transferring their shares to other parties without the approval of the minister or governor in accordance with their authority.

The moves came after days ago President Joko Widodo asked for the ratification of the bill to be postponed. The President’s decision was announced after much criticism from the public, environmental activists and students.

“Based on the mineral and coal bill sent by the House to the President, we have compiled a problem inventory list with the relevant ministries and have received various inputs that we poured with a total of 938 issues,” Secretary-General of the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources Ego Syarahrial told reporters who represent government in the meeting.

The intended regulation is the sixth revision of government regulation PP no.23 of 2010 concerning mineral and coal mining business activities. The law revision is also related to legal certainty in the survival of a number of business actors included in the first generation coal mining work agreement.

There are five ministries that have received the mandate of the president to discuss the revision law. They are the ministry of energy and mineral resources, the ministry of industry, the ministry of finance, the ministry of home affairs, and the ministry of law and human rights.

“But the industry ministry had not yet signed the inventory list. There is indeed a disagreement based on two letters sent by the Minister of Industry on September 13, essentially there is an important point stating the elimination of the series of mining business processes, namely refining,” Syarahrial said.

Commission VII deputy chairman Ridwan Hisjam, who chaired the meeting starting at 21.20 West Indonesia Time, said the meeting had fulfilled the quorum even though it was attended by only 8 members from 6 factions. He also requested that the meeting be open and agreed by the meeting participants.

Nevertheless, Executive Director of Asosiasi Pertambangan Batubara Indonesia (APBI) Hendra Sinadia emphasized that the acceleration of the bill also involved other aspects that were deemed necessary. This is about synchronizing the bill with the regional autonomy law. The synchronization is needed to ensure the legal aspects of implementation in the field, he told reporters yesterday.

He went on, there are a number of points that need to be considered, one of which concerns the development of community mining. Sinadia also stressed the importance of comprehensive revisions. This is felt necessary to ensure long-term investment in the management of mineral resources.

“This includes the authority to manage minerals that are classified as strategic and vital,” he said.

However, the civil society coalition considers that the need for discussion on the revision has not been spared from smoothing the exploitation of natural resources. Because there are points about no mining area limits.

Jaringan Advokasi Tambang (JATAM) explained that the draft law eliminates the article on criminal snares for officials who are proven to abuse the authority to grant mining permits. In the inventory list, there was an article that was omitted related to the corruption article, namely article 165.

The JATAM spokesman Melky Nahar stated the ratification pattern of the bill that seems haphazard and the rash is also inseparable from the conflict of interests of some members of parliament in the business of natural resources.

“The current law says that officials who misuse mining permits can be convicted of corruption. This is omitted in the bill revision,” he said in a written statement to InsiderStories.

He considered the acceleration of the discussion, seemed like an effort to accommodate the extension of a number of companies holding agreements that had been and would expire in the near future.

Furthermore, there is a change in article 169 in the draft that makes companies that hold a contract of work and work agreement get an automatic extension for ten years in the form of a special mining business permit.

“In addition, the addition of article 115 A, which has the potential to criminalize citizens who express their rights to refuse to mine. The regulation reinforces article 162 of the old law,” he ended.

Written by Lexy Nantu, Email: lexy@theinsiderstories.com