July 12, 2024

Mining Business in Politics Causes Uncontrolled Exploitation

The Mining Advocacy Network (JATAM) assesses that mining business activities linked to presidential and vice-presidential candidates along with political parties are the main cause of uncontrolled exploitation of natural resources and energy in Indonesia. JATAM states that the relationship between mining business and politics has led to the issuance of various laws favoring investment and neglecting the interests of the community.

“In the Anies-Muhaimin pair, for example, there are seven individuals affiliated with the mining and energy business. In the Prabowo-Gibran pair, there are 18 individuals, including Prabowo Subianto. Meanwhile, in the Ganjar-Mahfud pair, there are seven individuals,” said Melky Nahar, the Coordinator of JATAM, during the launch of the report titled “Jejaring Oligarki Tambang dan Energi dalam Pemilu 2024 [Mining and Energy Oligarchy Networks in the 2024 Elections]” in South Jakarta on January 22nd.

The report, worked on from December 2023 to January 2024, focuses on tracing the businesses of the candidates and their campaign teams through official government documents, internal company reports, journals, as well as media news as supporting references. According to Melky, some campaign teams affiliated with mining and energy also have business relations with campaign teams from other presidential and vice-presidential pairs.

“The financial and political support from these businesspeople tends to be oriented towards maintaining and seizing power to gain political ease and protection,” explained Melky.

According to Melky, the situation in the 2024 Elections is not much different from the 2019 Elections. He anticipates that there will be many policies and regulations to accommodate specific interests. He cites examples from after the 2019 Elections, where many controversial policies emerged, including the Omnibus Law on Job Creation (UU Cipta Kerja) and the revision of the Mineral and Coal Mining Law (UU Minerba), which were laden with business interests.

“Those two regulations actually provide many privileges for mining business actors, ranging from automatic extensions without going through auction mechanisms, the elimination of 0% royalty payments for coal companies, to creating space for the criminalization of residents around mining areas. At the same time, permitting officials are protected by eliminating criminal provisions when the issued permits are legally problematic,” he said.

Translated by Catherine Natalia