Conflicts over communal land between communities, government and companies are like endless labyrinths. The DPRD of West Sumatra also took the initiative to draft a regional regulation (raperda) on Ulayat Land. Various civil society organizations provided input and notes on what needs to be watched out for in this draft regional regulation.
“Together with several civil society organizations, we observed that there were several important points that became input and notes,” said Indira Suryani, Director of LBH Padang last January.
They see that the current situation of customary land has been heavily battered by concessions and permits to investors, which has led to prolonged conflicts between indigenous peoples and companies. “This is a conflict that is actually difficult for the government to unravel and resolve,” he said.
LBH’s records regarding customary land issues that intersect with investment projects have been going on for decades. “Then it appears again and again because it is not resolved,” he said.
In preparing this draft regional regulation, there is still an assumption that communal land is an obstacle to investment. “This has to be straightened out first. This attitude is unfair and does not protect customary rights.”
There are points in the Raperda that state the position of customary land as reserve land. “Ulayat land is not reserve land, but resources that are used or not used. Because indigenous peoples have wisdom and actions regarding land that can be used for economic activities and which must be protected,” he said.
Regarding the method of utilizing the area in the Raperda, there are two, profit-sharing and share-sharing. According to Indira, this regional regulation should also lock shares that cannot be traded either physically or on the capital market.
“We want, even if customary land is used for investment, it will not decrease. It must continue to increase or at least stay the same.”
He reminded that the issue of restoring customary land had not been accommodated in the draft regional regulations. In this draft, he said, it also does not accommodate the existence and role of bundo kanduang towards customary land.
“In fact, Minangkabau adheres to a matrilineal system . The group of women and girls suffers the most when their ulayat has been mortgaged or transferred to another party.”
The inclusive paradigm, he said, must be strengthened in this draft local regulation including the protection of women, children and disabilities in the use of communal land.
Furthermore, the Raperda also has not yet strengthened the mechanism of free prior informed consent ( FPIC ) in the use and management of communal land. This principle, said Indira, is often violated by various parties, causing structural conflicts at the grassroots.
“The Raperda is also still inconsistent with regard to customary land settlements.”
In Perda No. 7/2018 the matter of resolving communal land disputes is in the customary court. In this Raperda, the Density of Adat Nagari (KAN) was resolved.
“There has not been found a good formulation in this situation by taking into account sociological conditions and paying attention to the conflict of interest of the parties,” he said.
Another note, said Indira, is that this draft regional regulation does not yet accommodate ulayat lands in the Mentawai. “This should also be accommodated because the Mentawai also have ulayat land. The Raperda should not be discriminatory against Mentawai because it is part of West Sumatra,” he said.
Rifai Lubis, Director of the Citra Mandiri Mentawai Foundation (YCMM) said, regional regulations on customary land need to look at the substance of the restoration of customary land in West Sumatra which has been co-opted by corporations.
“Now the existence of customary land is already bad. There is research that states the existence of customary land in West Sumatra is only 18%. The others have become HGU (cultivation rights),” he said.
Supposedly, this draft is for the sake of upholding the existence of customary rights, both those that are still controlled by the community and those that have been transferred. “The return process needs to be regulated in this regional regulation so that there is a return process and it is guaranteed to run.
Rifai said that the Raperda was not sufficient to capture the situation of customary land. This draft regional regulation has limited itself to only regulating administration. “Don’t look at the social facts of customary land in a dying condition, its existence is very weak. That is what is not portrayed in academic texts so it is not of much use in restoring existence,” he said.
Regarding the existence of regional regulations for recognition and determination of customary territories in Mentawai, said Rifai, they have not yet accommodated administrative procedures for recognition from the local government. “Nothing has been registered in the land book, because it hasn’t been regulated. So actually its utilization is still very common.”