In Indonesia, there have been many initiatives or statements from several parties related to the effort of saving natural resources. Although only few that ensure that those initiative of statements related to natural resources (SDA) were implemented as expected.

On 19 March 2015, in Istana Bogor, as seen by President Joko Widodo, 29 leaders of Ministries and Institution signed the agreement note on joint action plan of Gerakan Penyelamatan Sumber Daya Alam di Indonesia (GNPSDA) or Movement on Rescuing Natural Resources in Indonesia. During the event, declaration of law enforcer institution (KPK Police Institution, Judiciary, and TNI) was also done in supporting the rescue of natural resources.

GNPSDA and Bogor Declaration was part of activity facilitated by Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) in implementing the function of trigger mechanism to overcome some problem on natural resources management, as well as increasing the state income for public prosperity. Previously, KPK has conducted some research on mineral and coal sector, forestry sector, and also marine sector.

As reported on KPS’s website, in forestry sector, KPK research result showed that land conflict often happened in forest area, between the state and indigenous people that have lived around the forest area for long. Other than that, unclear state of law impacted in overlapping concession. Program of coordination and supervision on minerals and coals (Korsup Minerba) in 2014 found about 1.3 million hectares of coals mining concession was in the area of conservation forest and 4.9 million hectares were in protected forest. KPK also found that the weak control on forest management, had affected in the loss of potential PNPB. For example, as resulted from the mining in forest area, the state lost 15.9 trillion per year. This was because of 1.052 mining around forest area without leasing procedures. Not to mention the state loss because of illegal logging that reached 35 trillion rupiahs.

More than a year since those two activities implemented, a question rose, how is GNPSDA? How is the implementation of GNPSDA action plan that should be implemented by 29 Ministries and Institutions under the Jokowi Governance. As the time goes by, GNPSDA cannot be released from the government effort to overcome the forest and land fire. Some statements were stated by the President regarding the effort of prevention and action towards people who caused forest and land fire.

As part of the evaluation, the important things that need to be concerned in the implementation of rescuing natural resources in Indonesia in the past two years is the effort of law enforcement by authorized institution, especially police institution and KPK.

From action aspect in police, based on data of Directorate of Certain Crime, Bareskrim Polri as per 22 October 2015, the police has set 247 suspects on forest fire. From that number, 230 were individual suspect and 17 suspects were in corporation. Seven of those corporations were foreign capital corporation. Other than that, 21 cases were still in preliminary investigation and 104 cases were already in investigation. Meanwhile 62 cases have been turned to the court for trial.

In one side, the numbers of cases handled by the police were fantastic and need to be appreciated. But in other side, the problem of transparency and accountability in handling those cases appear. Until now, there is still no new information from Bareskrim about the detail development about those suspects. Public demand for the government to openly announce the list of companies that took part in forest fire was only promise, without realization. Public were also shocked by the closing of investigation (SP3) on 15 big corporations done by Polda Riau.

For the lack of transparency and accountability, negative perception appears in some groups, now it is not “saving natural resources” anymore, but “saving the natural resources criminal”. To give deterrent effect, there is no action from the police to punish forest criminal, including forest fire and land criminal, with double sentences, not only by Sectorial Law, but also other laws such as Tipikor Law or Money Laundering.

KPK performance in recuing natural resources is not without critics. We should admit that KPK intensively did coordination and supervision on minerals and coals, forestry and plantation, with some relevant parties in Jakarta and some Provinces in Indonesia. But the effort to synergize prevention and action as KPK’s remark have not been seen. Even though from KPK and GNPSDA research, many findings could be brought to action by KPK. Under ICW watch, after the declaration of GNPSDA on 19 March 2015, until now, there is still no new corruption case in natural resources sector that has been unveiled by KPK.

Many of corruption cases on natural resources sector, especially in forestry, have not been handled by KPK. ICW data mentioned that since KPK was established, at least 12 corruption cases in forestry sector have and have been handling by KPK. Natural resources sector case that had been unveiled by KPK was in 2014, in the bribe case involving Riau Governor and Bogor Regent. The state loss that has been handled by KPK was 2.2 Trillion rupiahs with the bribe amounting to 17 thousand Singaporean Dollars and 8.657 billion.

From those 12 cases, at least 35 people were faced justice. They were from regional leader, ex regional leaders (8 people), DPR members (6 people), entrepreneurs (10 people), Local Civil Servant (10 people), others (1 person). Out of those 35 people, 34 have been convicted, and one is still in suspect, namely Edison Marudut in the case of land forest conversion proposal in Riau Province.

To make GNPSDA not just stop as ceremonial or jargon only, there is some recommendation that should be done by the government as well as KPK.

Recommendation that need to be implemented by Government, in this case, President Jokowi, are:

  1. Whole evaluation towards the performance of government lines, especially Ministry of Environment and Forestry, police, and Commander of TNI, in the effort of rescuing natural resources, including overcoming forest and land fire. It needs to be rechecked whether some action plans of GNPSDA initiated by KPK or instruction given by Jokowi have been implemented all by Ministries or Institutions under Jokowi.Based on the evaluation result done, Jokowi should also take strategic steps to overcome potential problem, do routine coordination among government and KPK, including giving reward and punishment – warning, if needed, dismissal of leader or high level in Ministries or Institutions – to ensure that the instructions and action plans were implemented truly.
  2. Encouraging assertive law enforcement on natural resources criminal. It should be ensured that no criminal on natural resources were forgiven of freed by Ministry of Environment and Forestry or police or judiciary. In the newest case, Kapolri Tito Karnavian needs to do investigation on Polda Riau that close the investigation (SP3) on 15 corporations suspected to be the fire and land fire criminal. If there is oddity, SP3 of those 15 corporations should be cancelled and there should be assertive action towards responsible parties in Polda Riau. Supervision and coordination from Mabes Polri should also be done continuously to prevent Polda to act unprofessionally or deviated.

To optimally enforce the law, aside from establishing Natural Resources Anti-Mafia Unit Force of Forest Mafia Unit Forces, Ministry of Environment and Forestry and also other law enforcer like police and judiciary need to penalize the forest criminal with layered sentences. To give deterrent effect, criminal does not only penalized with Forestry Law or Law on Prevention and Eradication on Forest Crimes (UU P3H) but also Corruption Eradication Law or Money Laundering Law. Police and Ministry of Environment and Forestry also need to take law action towards company (forest, plantation, and mining) which operation concession have been revoked but still doing their activity around the frozen area.

Meanwhile, recommendation for Head of KPK is to support the prevention and action under the framework of GNPSDA to be implemented simultaneously. For prevention step, KPK had better not stop only in implementing coordination and supervision action in preventing sector of GNPSDA in some areas, but also make the report or grade for each Ministry or Institution in implementing GNPSDA action plans. KPK should also report to the president gradually to be the concern and evaluation. Other than prevention, it s time for KPK to do the actions – arrested individual of corporation – to ensure the deterrent effect towards the criminal in natural resources sector.

Writer: Emerson Yuntho, member of Workers Body of Indonesia Corruption Watch.
Paper was presented in seminar of Forest and Land Governance in Yogyakarta28 July 2016.