Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The government held an inter-departmental meeting in Padang, West Sumatra, on Thursday night to discuss the alleged sale of three islands off the province`s west coast to a foreign party.
The meeting among representatives of the ministries of home affairs, marine resources and fisheries, law and human rights, was facilitated by West Sumatra Governor Gamawan Fauzi, Home Affairs Minister Mardiiyanto said here Thursday.
At the meeting the central government officials would also have an opportunity to meet various local parties with deeper knowledge about or involved in the matter "so that we will eventually have a more realistic report, not something based on different interpretations," he said.
The three islands recently reported to have been sold to a foreign party are part of the Mentawai Islands group, off West Sumatra`s coast.
Mardiyanto, speaking to reporters at the State Palace during a fast-breaking function hosted by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, said he was inclined to believe the report was not true but he could not be sure until he had read the report on the results of Thursday night`s inter-departmental meeting in Padang.
"Hopefully, I will have the report from Padang tomorrow (Friday)," he said.
Based on the report, the home affairs ministry would decide whether or not a special investigation in the field was necessary, the minister said.
Actually, Mardiyanto said, he had already received reports from the Mentawai Islands district chief and the West Sumatra governor explaining that the offer appearing on an internet website regarding the islands of Makaroni, Siloinak, and Kandui was meant to attract investors, not buyers.
"But let us wait for a more detailed report. We need to know what is required when it is an investment and when it is a sale. We need to check these aspects. But it should be clear there can be no sale of any island to a foreign party because all islands in Indonesia belong to the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia," the minister said.(*)