Jakarta – Abdul is a resident of Pancoran subdistrict in South Jakarta who paid his area's subdistrict and community unit (RW) heads an "administrative fee" of Rp 750,000 (US$53.51) for a reference letter he required in order to complete his documents for a land certificate from the Jakarta office of National Land Agency (BPN).
He paid the amount four months ago but was not given a receipt. He and his wife Malihatun have yet to receive any news or updates about their requests.
Fortunately, the couple finally received their land certificate at an event in Pasar Minggu, South Jakarta, on Friday, during which President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo handed over 3,000 land certificates to South Jakarta residents. The certificate was free.
Though they were forced to spend Rp 750,000 on a process that produced nothing, the couple was happy to finally get a certificate that legally acknowledged them as the rightful owner of their 70-square-meter plot of land in Pancoran, which they had bought in 2014.
"We were lucky because [the administrative fee] was not as high as in other subdistricts. In Pejaten [South Jakarta], some people I know had to pay up to Rp 12 million," Abdul told The Jakarta Post.
The next step, Abdul said, would be to take care of a right-to-build (HGB) permit, which he plans to arrange himself with the Agrarian and Spatial Planning Ministry now that he has a land certificate.
Like Abdul and Malihatun, residents of North Grogol, also in South Jakarta, have also complained about fees they had to pay when registering for a land certificate through the comprehensive systematic registration program (PTSL).
The issue garnered widespread public attention after North Grogol resident Naneh, 60, revealed she had given her local subdistrict head and RW chief Rp 3 million to get a land certificate, even though she had attended an event in which Jokowi distributed 5,000 land certificates in October last year.
She was contacted by someone who told her that she needed to pay the fee for her land certificate to be issued. "They promised that I would get it by December 2018, but I haven't received anything to date," Naneh said as quoted by tempo.co last week.
She added that she had also been told to pay Rp 200 million for a right-to-build permit. "I can't afford it. I want to cancel the process," Naneh said.
City Secretary Saefullah had previously warned the public about illegal fees, reminding residents that subdistrict, RW and neighborhood unit (RT) heads were not allowed to charge them for registering their land.
Agrarian and Spatial Planning Minister Sofyan Djalil conceded that complaints of illegal levies have emerged across the country but claimed that local administration officers were behind the requests, not ministry officials.
Sofyan added that local administrations could charge an administration fee under the 2017 Joint Ministerial Decree (SKB) on land registration preparation fees, including a maximum fee of Rp 150,000 to help residents measure their land.
"If they take more than the maximum amount, people should report them to the police. The police are currently following up on some of these reports," Sofyan said on Friday.
Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan urged the BPN to take firm action against officials asking for illegal levies. He also asked residents to file a report to prevent more cases from happening.
As for his own officials, he said that he would remove subdistrict heads who were proven to have requested illegal fees from residents. "We will rotate them immediately," he said.
Meanwhile, Jakarta Council Deputy Speaker M. Taufik said his office would summons city administration officials and representatives of the BPN's Jakarta office on Tuesday following reports to the council over rampant illegal levies in the registration of land certificates. (ggq)