Budiarti Utami Putri, Jakarta – Mining Advocacy Network (Jatam) coordinator, Merah Johansyah Ismail, on Sunday's press conference suspects that the drafting of the much-debated work creation omnibus bill (RUU Cipta Kerja) has been driven by the interests of coal and mineral (minerba) corporations.
Ismail claims that there are seven coal and mineral corporations that control 60-70 percent of Indonesia's national coal production. According to him, the permits of three of the corporations are about to expire by the end of this year.
"We see that they are the ones behind the omnibus law," said Ismail at Sunday's virtual press conference.
He suspects that the coal and mineral corporations have interests in the cluster overseeing mining within the RUU Cipta Kerja under Article 169A on automatic permit extension without having to undergo the process of handing back permits to the government and an auction.
The coal and mineral Law (UU Minerba) controls this by requiring corporations to hand back the permits to the government as it expires. Coal corporations must also adjust their mining areas to the maximum extent overseen under the same law, which is 15,000 hectares.
The Jatam coordinator revealed that exploitation mining areas of seven corporations are roughly 40-110 thousand hectares and astonishingly said that the corporations are owned by businessmen that have major influences in political parties that are in the House of Representatives (DPR) and those who endorsed President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's second presidential term campaign in the 2019 election.
"The political compensation is clear here, we call it the 'ijon politik omnibus'," said Merah Johansyah Ismail.
This issue becomes worrisome after the fact that mining permits have overseen 34 percent of lands in Indonesia, according to JATAM. It could become a potential threat toward the environment if the omnibus bill passes laws that significantly eases the permits of coal and mineral corporations without proper regulations to prevent environmental damages caused by mining activities.
Ismail is also taking part in the lawsuit against the President regarding the RUU Cipta Kerja at the state administrative court (PTUN).