Tanah Galian, Little Tragedy at the Corner of Halim
JAKARTA -- The construction of the Jakarta-Bandung high-speed rail line is a megaproject that becomes one of President Joko Widodo's flagship programs. On the sidelines of the development, a journalist from idnfinancials.com tried to find out more about the acquisition of the land used for the project, which was claimed to be going smoothly and will
soon be finalised by PT Kereta Cepat Indonesia China (KCIC), a consortium of a number of state-owned companies
and Beijing Yawan HSR Co. Ltd, China, as the project implementer. However, the facts found in the location in the
corner of Halim area tell another story.
Rahmat is a resident of Tanah Galian, Cipinang Melayu, East Jakarta. His house is located at Jalan Timor, just beside the Jakarta – Cikampek toll road. It is part of the Kali Malang area, in between of two toll roads, Cikampek and Becakayu. He is one of the dozens of residents affected by the Jakarta-Bandung high-speed rail line project.
Rahmat has long been dealing with land affairs in that location. A big part of Rahmat's life history is the dark history of Tanah Galian.
"I am among a handful of Betawi people who choose to stay here. The rest have been scattered to the periphery area,
especially since the commotion in 1980. The land is contested by the residents and the Air Force", he said.
Rahmat began to talk about the ups and downs of staying at the location. That is why, at this time, when he was
about to be evicted from his house for the sake of the Jakarta-Bandung high-speed rail line project, Rahmat choose
to be at the forefront. Not only with narrative, but with legal arguments in court.
The "enemy" faced by Rahmat and the people of Tanah Galian is not a small one. Previously, residents only faced
the Air Force based at Halim Perdanakusuma. However, the "enemy" is now the executor of the megaproject, which
is an alliance of several state-owned companies that partner with a multinational company from China.
As is known, the megaproject will be carried out by PT Kereta Api Indonesia China (KCIC). KCIC is a consortium
between PT Pilar Sinergi BUMN Indonesia (PSBI) (60% ownership) and Beijing Yawan HSR Co. Ltd. (40%). PT
PSBI is a business entity whose members are PT Wijaya Karya Tbk, with a 38% stake, PT Kereta Api Indonesia
(Persero) (25%), PT Perkebunan Nusantara VIII (25%), and PT Jasa Marga (Persero) Tbk. (JSMR) (12%). Meanwhile, Beijing Yawan HSR Co. Ltd. consists of China Railway International Co. Ltd., China Railway Group Limited,
Sinohydro Corporation Limited, CRRC Corporation Limited, and China Railway Signal and Communication Corp.
The 142.30 km high-speed rail line project is targeted to be completed by the end of 2021, sooner than the initial
plan of around mid-2022. The megaproject is expected to cost around Rp 80 trillion. About 75% of the total funds
(Rp 60 trillion) came from a loan facility given by China Development Bank, while the remaining 25% (Rp 20
trillion) came from KCIC’s equity.
In relation to the project, KCIC will also build Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) projects near four of the
project’s stations, including at Halim, at the location currently under question. For the development planned at
Halim, the land needed is around 2.6 hectares. The TOD project will cost US$ 10 billion (around Rp 140 trillion).
By the end of September, the construction progress of the project is claimed to have reached 34.89% and will reach
50% by the end of this year. Land acquisition was declared as being almost finished. However, the facts found at the
ground show that there is a problem in the land acquisition process at Tanah Galian.
Besides being problematic, the process of land acquisition in the field is considered unprofessional. There are bad
comments from the residents. Despite this, in several mass media, the project implementers claimed that land
acquisition was going smoothly and will be completed soon.
One example is the statement from the Director of TOD and Legal at KCIC, Dwi Windarto, which stated that the
acquisition of the land that will be used for the development of the TOD project in Halim had reached 100%, as
quoted by CNN on Wednesday (9/11/2019). In fact, resistance from residents is still intense. In addition to
demonstrations, commotion in the field also often occurs.
It’s Been Going for a Long Time
The resistance is a continuation of a long-standing case, especially with the Air Force. The institution based at
Halim Perdanakusuma believes that the location is inseparable from the location used for the construction of
facilities for the Halim Perdanakusuma International Airport. However, some spots, especially Tanah Galian, were
left abandoned for decades, inviting residents to occupy and work on them.
Maria Simatupang, for example, claimed that she has stayed in the location since 2002. Many others claimed to have
inhabited the land for more than 20 years. "Until 2012, we were still often disturbed by people with uniforms and
weapons. However, we persisted", said another resident, Riky Amapiran.
In fact, according to Riky, the residents got more power after the Air Force failed to show proof of ownership
explicitly in court. "It is also unclear who owns the land. If they have the documents, the residents should have long
been evicted from that place. We will also definitely leave if there are parties who clearly show ownership
documents", said Riky, who has lived at Tanah Galian since 2011.
According to the data from the East Jakarta District Court and the documents publicised by the Supreme Court, at
least there were three parties who faced the Air Force in court. First, residents who were represented by Jaberlin
Lumban Gaol. The group claimed that they have 511 titles of land ownership, and they began filing lawsuits since
The residents claimed that the land is a customary land registered in 1937. Then, the titles of the land were taken by force, and some of the residents were kicked out inhumanely. According to the judgment made by the East Jakarta District Court, the Air Force had to return the titles and the documents taken by them to the residents through Jaberlin Lumban Gaol.
The Air Force then filed an appeal to the court but lost for the second time. Then, the Air Force filed another appeal
to the Supreme Court, but it lost again. Finally, the Air Force submitted a PK (Judicial Review) to Judge H. Panji
Widagdo, Ibrahim, and Soltoni Mohdali. The request was granted despite the fact that the existence of new evidence
What is certain is that the verdict issued on 10 January 2017 stated that the lawsuit filed by the residents could not
be accepted. The decision became a new power for project implementers such as KCIC and PSBI. “(The land) has
been handed over by the Air Force", said PSBI’s management led by Natal Pardede in a dialogue with residents
initiated by the East Jakarta Regional Police in July 2019.
At that time, the police intervened because the situation on the ground was not conducive. There has been a beating
by residents who claimed to represent PSBI and PT Wijaya Karya on other residents.
The second group who also filed a lawsuit were a number of residents represented by Tommy Sihotang. The group
chose to file a lawsuit since they never reached an agreement with PSBI after several dialogues. "So far, they are
only willing to pay compensation for the houses, then what about the land? Has our work for almost 20 years not
been taken into account?", said Hutajalu, the leader of the group.
Demand for Cultivation Rights
As recognised by Tommy Sihotang, the basis for the lawsuit is the matter of cultivation rights. "We do not care
about the landowners, what we fight for is the cultivation rights", he said. The case is still being processed in the
East Jakarta District Court.
The lawsuit is based on Regulation of the Governor of DKI Jakarta Number 290/2014 which regulates land
acquisition in the public interest. According to the regulation, the cultivators must get at least 25% of the Tax Object
Sales Value (NJOP).
Some residents who could not stand the persuasion of the PSBI had received compensation for their buildings. "We
are often visited by officers who ask us to receive compensation payments, not including the land, because this is
state land", said a resident who declined to be named.
The resident received Rp 275 million in compensation for his 80 m2 house. Dozens of residents chose the same
thing. Apart from not wanting to waste time, most of them complain they don't have the money to hire a lawyer.