Minister Clarifies Issues about Widi Islands up for Auction

5 December 2022 20:15 WIB

TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Indonesia’s Home Affairs Minister Tito Karnavian has spoken up about the issue saying that Widi Islands in South Halmahera, North Maluku, are up for auction. Tito did not deny that there is an agreement between the local government and the private sector concerning the management of the tropical islands.

“So there is an MoU on Widi Islands, South Halmahera, in 2015 between LII [PT Leadership Islands Indonesia] based in Bali [and the local government]," said Tito at the Home Affairs Ministry's office in Central Jakarta on Monday, December 5, 2022.

Tito explained that the owner of LII is an Indonesian national living in Bali and wants to develop the islands for ecotourism with various facilities, such as diving, snorkeling, and others. Moreover, Tito said that the islands are uninhabited.

Tito emphasized that tourism development must be in accordance with the prevailing regulations. Among them, about 30 percent of land use must be used for conservation.

Tito explained that LII possessed a management permit for the islands for 30 years. However, he added that LII has not carried out any development activities in the past seven years. "Maybe they lack capital," Tito added.

As a result, LII is searching for foreign investors. "The aim is not for auction, for sale. The goal is to attract foreign investors. So, that's fine," Tito emphasized.

Tito believed that LII's efforts to seek foreign investors for Widi Islands development is permissible. "So far, a lot of people have done that," Tito said, underlining that what needs to be observed at this time is the percentage of land used for conservation.

RIANI SANUSI PUTRI

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