Jokow Widodo versus Prabowo Subianto - Photo: Privacy

JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories) – The second debate of presidential candidates last Sunday ignited a number of new questions. Debates over energy, food, infrastructure, natural resources and the environment have opened the secrets of the mining oligarchs around the two candidates.

The mapping of the conglomerates can explain not only the question of access to the abundance of money, but also the network of influence of a few people who control the source of Indonesia’ wealth.

It all started from the debate stage. When called Joko Widodo about controlling thousands of hectares of land in Kalimantan and Aceh, Prabowo Subianto didn’t deny. The public was excited. Some people refer to the contender’ land ownership as a mirror of the imbalance of land tenure and the complexity of agrarian issues in Indonesia.

Greenpeace Indonesia, for example, states that land tenure in Indonesia is controlled by corporations rather than small people. Even all sectors are controlled including mining and plantation concession holders. Even though agrarian sovereignty basically places land rights on farmers.

Even the Wahana Lingkungan Hidup Indonesia called for the government to open data on a number of conglomerates that control thousands of hectares of land to the public. This is important so that the community jointly oversees land tenure and resolves agrarian conflicts involving corporations and communities.

A number of media took the initiative to trace the mining oligarchs around Widodo and Subianto. In their hands, most of Indonesia’ land is located.

In the Widodo’ camp Surya Paloh owns two mines in Aceh, PT Emas Murni covering an area of ​​10 thousand hectares and PT Bara Lestari covering 4,629 hectares. Oesman Sapta Odang has a mine in Riau with PT Karimun 4,087 hectares and PT Mangan Industri covering an area of ​​27,609 hectares.

Then there is Luhut Binsar Panjaitan who controls the mine in Kalimantan with PT Toba Bara Sejahtera Tbk (IDX: TOBA). There are mines in three different locations covering 7,087 hectares and oil palm plantations covering 8,634.21 hectares in Kutai, East Kalimantan.

Furthermore, there is Hary Tanoesoedibjo who controls 40,439 land in six mining companies in Musi Sumatera and one 2,003 hectares mine in Samarinda. While Erick Thohir and his brother Garibaldi Thohir controlled a land area of ​​482,171 hectares with mining companies spread throughout Kalimantan.

Furthermore, there is Sakti Wahyu Trenggono, treasurer of Widodo’ National Team, which has an area of ​​11,556.48 hectares in Banyuwangi, East Java. Then Saleh Husin, Deputy General Chair of the Partai Hanura, had an area of ​​81,276 hectares in East Kalimantan.

While in Subianto’ side, together with his younger brother Hasyim Djojohadikusumo, it was reported that he had a number of companies engaged in plantations, paper industry, forestry, mining, fisheries and professional services. The land area of ​​the mining business and Subianto’ plantations spread over eight points in East Kalimantan is 264,683 hectares. While in Aceh, Subianto owned an area of ​​97,300 hectares.

Still in Prabowo’ side, there is Ferry Mursyidan Baldan which owns a mining company in three locations in East Kalimantan with an area of ​​5,368 hectares. Whereas names such as Sandiaga Salahuddin Uno, Tommy Soeharto, Maher Al Gadrie, Sudirman Said, and Zulkifli Hasan were reported to be longtime players in the mining and energy sector, although the area is not yet detailed.

Jaringan Advokasi Tambang (JATAM) said on Wednesday (02/20) that the linkages and direct involvement in the mining business, to the campaign funding sources of the two candidate pairs, both of which came from the mining industry showed how the 2019 Election was very thick with the voracious industrial interests of the land and this water.

This interest is related to efforts to ensure the comfort of ongoing mining investments while opening new similar investments, and avoiding law enforcement efforts. The hopes of the people in the area around the mine to get out of the crisis and problems still seem far from expectations.

2019 Election, with the involvement of large-potential mining businessmen to open the crisis wide and the problem is getting worse. So, whoever wins, the people remain on the losing side, bear the risk of exploitative practices, while mining businesses, along with related political elites, continue to win, continue extraction to benefit themselves and their groups.

That is why, according to JATAM, during last Sunday’ debate, the two candidates didn’t mention anything at all, especially when debating about the crisis of residents around the mine, the coast and small islands. In fact, the crisis and problems of the small islands are so real, starting from the expansion of mining and oil and gas, oil palm and sugar cane plantations, industrial plantations, and coastal reclamation.

In the context of the mine, for example, JATAM noted that there were 55 small islands which were hit by the mining industry, ranging from Bangka Island in North Sulawesi, Romang Island, Damar, and Wetar in Maluku, Bunyu Island and other islands in a number of points that spread throughout Kalimantan, Sumba, Flores, Timor and Sabu Raiju islands in East Nusa Tenggara, as well as other small islands in Indonesia.

JATAM Coordinator, Merah Johansyah Ismail, reported that the mine ownership map behind the winning groups of each candidate showed that Indonesia’ political competition was not much different from the competition in the mining business.

As much as 86 percent of the campaign costs of the two candidates were the contributions of the mining oligarchs of each camp. Then in almost every group, JATAM has a record of violations of environmental and community issues.

Political and business relations involving these mining oligarchs, it is very possible that law enforcement will not work, on the contrary it will easily turn off citizen resistance. Can Widodo and Subianto take the distance and dare to defend the interests of the people before these mining oligarchs? JATAM is pessimistic, although doesn’t lose hope.

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