JATAM - Mining Advocacy Network
JAKARTA-JATAM (11/4); Last March, the Mining Advocacy Network (JATAM) launched the map of crisis areas and looting politics (access to This event was also present representative of resident, political observer, and academia. That map is a crisis portrait in several regions, which did not touch as critical issue for Party and Legislative Candidates (Caleg) during the campaign of General Election 2014.
Most of crisis, occurred related to land-based industry such as mining and plantation. While party cadres/functionaries who become Legislative Candidate also related to the mining industry. That condition becomes a question. Is there a role of legislative members to address the crisis that has been experienced by residents in mining area?

Also attending the event that held in Kopi Deli, Central Jakarta, representatives of resident in several crisis areas, i.e Meli Melda from Bengkulu Province, Burhanuddin from Central Sulawesi Province, Harwati from East Java Province, and Umbu Janji from Central Sumba Regency. Harwati, usually called Mbak (miss) Har, is a mother of two children who knew exactly about the crisis that encountered in her place. How does not, almost eight years she and her friends in Porong-Sidoarjo had struggling for their rights that lost due to Lapindo mud.

According to her, all this time, they had been abandoned by central and regional government. There is nothing they can expect from legislative candidates, because after selected, they usually does not know what to do. They do not know what the needs and problems of Lapindo mud’s victim. “Better to let the seats of Sidoarjo representative empty. Because whoever is selected will never have concerns to our difficulty caused by this Lapindo mud”, said Mbak Har.

Burhanuddin as a representative of Podi resident, Central Sulawesi, explained an almost similar thing. Legislative members almost never heard people voices in dealing with PT Arthaindo Jaya Abadi (PT AJA). PT. AJA started to come into Podi village since 2013, but only a year company present, it has brought many problems. Vertical and horizontal conflicts often happened, river polluted and causing residents suffered from itches. Even worse, the presence of Jeti Arthaindo port has caused an interruption of access to economic resource because residents no longer fishing freely at the sea.

“We’ve been taking action many times in front of Regent, Regional House of Representative, and Governor offices. But until now, our protests never been heard” said Burhan. Podi residents want the government to close mining operation of PT. AJA. This intention has been presented through the expulsion of mining workers, blockade on the Dusun IV road which is an access from company to the port, three times action to House of Representative of Tojo Una-una, and action to Provincial government, with the hope that the rejection could be heard by the government. 

“The struggle is still going on until now, as we have never heard”, said Burhan. Although it may be, this struggle will be more difficult because the leader of Tojo Una-una Regency is from Golkar Party. He is the one who facilitates operation of PT. AJA in Podi village. “But we will not surrender to the commander. We will continue to fight for our rights”, he said.

On the island of Sumba-East Nusa Tenggara, the struggle to reject mining operation has caused Umbu Janji - one of three residents of Prai Koruku village in Central Sumba - must be jailed for 9 months. According to him, since the beginning of PT Fathi Resource’s presence in their village, the residents had rejected. People’s Rejection letter addressed to the regional government and House of Representative in Central Sumba. However, the letter ignored. 

Got the chance by the government who ignored people’s rejection, the company that received permit in 2009 acted more arbitrary. Around May 2012, the company was drilling in grazing land and lead to a displeasure resident, so that they repel the company and destroy drill equipments. Although some residents must stay in jail, with those very big sacrifice, made mining activity in Umbu Djanji stopped. Umbu Janji explained, the residents do not know whom to support in the next general election. However, they hope the next government will support them. “We do not want to choose any one that will support mining later” said Umbu Djanji.

Meanwhile, Meli Melda as representative from Bengkulu, also explained the residents struggle in rejecting PT Famia Terdionagara. Since 2006, residents of Penagobaru village, Seluma Regency, Bengkulu Province, rejected iron sand mining activity of PT Famia Terdionagara. “We already have economic sources and it threaten by mining”.

“Mining is threatening us. There are people who drowned in the former sand pit. Our plantation result reduced. First, we could get clam and fish to eat and sold. Now, it is difficult” Meli said about mining in her village. During the general election like this, all candidates always said lip, but there is no evidence for the residents. “One thing that we want is a legislative candidate who understand and want to hear our problem”. 
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