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Tell Me Your Secrets; Tell Me Your Lies!

Bali Environmentalist Beat Pelindo III in a Freedom of Information Suit

The Indonesian Forum for Environment (WALHI) has won an administrative court ruling against Pelindo III – the management authority for the Port of Benoa in Bali on Friday, May 17, 2019.

As reported by Radar Bali, WALHI won a freedom of information complaint demanding that Pelindo III present all documentation in connection to environmental impact studies that Pelindo III was required to undertake before the renovation and reclamation of the Port of Benoa commenced.

The reading of 80-page opinion issued by the Government’s Information Commission saw the magistrates take turns to complete the reading over a 3-hour period.

The Executive Director of WAHLI-Bali, Untung Pratama, said that the Information Commission’s decision now obliges Pelindo III to supply the documents regarding environmental impact studies (AMDEL) within 14 working days of the Commission’s decision.

Pratama depicts the administrative court’s decision as a victory for the people of Bali, affirming the public's right to know the information on a government decision that affects their way of life. At the same time, he said, the decision must serve as a lesson to other companies, both privately and publicly owned, not to conceal information affecting the public interest. Adding: “Public and privately-owned companies must be open with information about their projects and give access for full and active participation to the general public.”

Meanwhile, WALHI’s legal representative Adi Sumiarta said it was now the time for Pelindo III to be completely open to the general public with all information related to permits to expand the Port of Benoa. In the past, Pelindo III has refused to divulge such information claiming they were working in the public interest.

Adi Sumiarta revealed that the goal of WALHI-Bali brought the legal action before the Information Commission against Pelindo III in order to make the public aware that Pelindo III was not being transparent in their ongoing reclamation of Benoa Bay.

The ruling against Pelindo III also calls into question an award given to Pelindo III by the Central Information Office (KIP) recognizing them as an open and informative State-owned Company (BUMN) that WAHLI says, in light of their victory, shows Pelindo does not deserve awards for transparency.

Finally, Adi issued thanks to the council of magistrates from the Information Commission in Bali and repeated his call on Pelindo III to obey the decision and share all information with WAHLI on permits and licenses allowing the expansion and reclamation of the Port of Benoa.

Some quarters now question if an AMDEL for the project was ever prepared. In the absence of an AMDEL what remedial steps are available to compel the restoration of the Port area to its original state?

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