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Indonesia Strives to Become Eminently Dominant

Indonesian Legislators Hope to Speed Infrastructure Development with New Law Allowing Forcible Seizure of Private Lands.

(8/21/2010) A law now being drafted for consideration by Indonesia's House of Representatives, if approved, will introduce the principle of eminent domain, granting power to the government to forcibly seize privately held property with due compensation paid to the owner.

The government's lack of the ability to confiscate land without the owner's willing consent has proven a stumbling block for many public infrastructure projects in Indonesia.

According to the coordinating minister for the economy, Hatta Rajasa, quoted in The Jakarta Post, "we need a simpler mechanism in the acquisition of land for public use in relation to both land pricing and financing." He continued: "We all know land acquisition is quite complicated in this country. The development osf about 82 sections of toll roads have been hampered by problems."

In the past, major projects have often relied on the sometime unsavory services of "land brokers" who manage to secure title on needed lands with few questions asked on procedures employed.

Among the projects that would be aided by a change in the law are the Manggarai Soekarno-Hatta airport railway, a coal-fired power plant in Central Java, the Tanah Ampo port in east Bali, a waste energy project in Bandung and a coal railway in central Kalimantan.