Govt Asserts Widi Islands Not for Sale Following Sotheby's Auction Report

6 December 2022 10:11 WIB

TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The Marine Affairs and Fisheries Ministry on Tuesday asserts that the Widi Islands – which was previously widely reported up for auction in the Sotheby’s Concierge Auctions – remains in Indonesia’s control as guaranteed by the law. 

“Our regulations do not recognize and do not legalize transact sales of islands, including small islands which are public rights and state assets,” said the Ministry’s spokesperson Wahyu Muryadi on Tuesday, December 6. 

According to Indonesia’s Law, Wahyu said, the Widi Islands cluster cannot be owned by a foreign citizen and must not be transacted, especially considering that 83 of the smaller islands in the cluster are protected forests. The body of water that surrounds it is also a conservation space. 

Moreover, a foreign legal entity established according to Indonesian law and based in Indonesia can only obtain usufructuary rights (HGU) and building use rights (HGB). This also applies to LII, which is the developer of the Widi Islands in North Maluku

"In principle, it is only limited to utilization and that is carried out strictly in accordance with applicable regulations and cannot be traded," said Wahyu.

Initially, the auctioneer is suspected to be PT Leadership Islands Indonesia (PT LII) which has the rights to develop the island. However, through a recent written statement, LII denied being involved in the auction.

The KKP stated that it had coordinated this matter with the regional government, the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Information and Geospatial Agency, and the Indonesian Navy Pushidrosal. The goal is that these problems can be handled comprehensively. The KKP also promised to continue to be committed to protecting coastal areas and small islands in Indonesia.

RIANI SANUSI PUTRI

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