TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The Director General for Maritime, Coastal and Small Islands at Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries, Sudirman Saad, said the current regulations allow foreign investors to develop the country's outer islets.
“Foreign investors may do so, as long as they adhere to our rules and regulations in relation the utilization of Indonesia's islets,” said Saad in a press release received by Tempo on Monday, September 1, 2014.
According to Saad, the management policy on such islands has to be in line with Law No. 1 Year 2014 on the development of ecotourism. The law stipulates that the development of the island must not be detrimental to the environment nor pose a threat to the local, social structures. Tightened regulations and restrictions are hoped to stop the proliferation of shortsighted, haphazard developments on these islands, especially if it proves to be harmful to Indonesia’s sovereignty.
Saad added, however, local investors retain their prioritized status when it comes to developing Indonesia’s outer islets because the Indonesian government wants Indonesian citizens to benefit first and foremost from the development of Indonesian territories.
Investing in the development of the nation's outer islets has sparked debates among Indonesians, especially after two islands—Kiluan Island in Lampung and Kumbang Island in West Sumatra—were put up for sale on www.privateislandsonline.com. Saad has denied the legitimacy of the sales, saying the islands are and still part of Indonesia’s sovereign territory, and therefore non-transferrable to foreign parties under any purchasing agreement.
“We will communicate with the site administrators to investigate the matter further,” said Saad.
YOLANDA RYAN ARMINDYA