Fri, 28 Aug 2009
From: The Jakarta Post
By Erwida Maulia and Syofiardi Bachyul JB, Jakarta/Padang
State Secretary Hatta Radjasa said Thursday that none of Indonesia’s territory was for sale despite a website advertising offers for three islands in the western part of the country.

Hatta told reporters at the Presidential Palace that investors might lease or develop resorts on those islands, but any claim or attempt at ownership of Indonesian territory would constitute a “serious violation” of the law.

“There is no way that [any of our] islands can be sold. Perhaps those people who rent them do not understand that.

“Such ownership would obviously constitute a serious violation [of the law]. No island can be put up for sale,” he said.

Three islands in the Mentawai archipelago, West Sumatra, were advertised for sale at www.privateislandsonline.com.

The 15-acre Macaroni island was on sale for US$4 million, 24-acre Siloinak island was up for $1.6 million and Kandui island, measuring 26-acres in size, was advertised for $8 million.

“…Varying degrees of investment from full-purchase to joint venture may be considered. Siloinak
island is priced extremely well,

and all details will be discussed upon inquiry,” read the closing sentence of the sale information on the website.

It is not clear, though, who would make an offer, or what companies are related to the sale
process.

Noted lawyer Todung Mulya Lubis said the sale of Indonesian territory would constitute sacrificing national sovereignty, and should not be allowed to happen.

“Land can be sold and purcha-sed through the [2008] Agrarian Law. However, although an
island is physically land, in a legal sense its sale is not the same,” Todung said. While part of an island can be sold as land, the entire island cannot.

He said that under the Agrarian Law, only Indonesian citizens could own both the land and the right to develop on it.

“Investors can develop [resorts] in the context of foreign investment, but they cannot own the land,”
he said.

Meanwhile in Padang, West Sumatra, Yudas Sabaggalet, the Mentawai archipelago deputy regent,
said there was no such arrangement to sell any of the islands in his region.

The website advertising islands for sale, he claimed, was based on “invalid information”.

“Only one of the three islands offered is really an island. The other two are names of resorts on Siberut island,” he said.

Yudas said he did not understand how anybody could confuse the resorts as islands, and how they could be up for sale to the public.

The ads promoted Macaroni and Kandui as islands, he said, when they were both just resorts on North Pagai island and Karangmajat Besar island respectively.

Siloinak, however is in fact an island.

“The government will investigate this case. Nobody is admitting to advertising the islands for sale,” Aji said at a press conference held at the West Sumatra Gubernatorial Office. The conference was also attended by the director general for supervision and control at the maritime affairs and fisheries ministry, Aji Sularso.

“We have concluded that the ads are not correct because those managing the islands and resorts claim they have not put them up for sale,” Aji said.

As the ads were published on a website based in Toronto, Canada, Aji said his office would coordinate with the Foreign Affairs Ministry to investigate this matter further.



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