Wistful Song of Indonesia Raya on the Edge of Jakarta Bay

One hour after the flag-raising ceremony of the 74th anniversary of RI, Saturday (17/8) this morning, the head of the Traditional Fishermen Group (KNT) of Muara Angke Iwan Carmidi sailed on his small fishing boat. Two other ships followed behind, transporting other fishermen and several children. In line with the slowing boat speed, their voices faintly heard singing Indonesia Raya.


“We want to celebrate independence in the style of fishermen. We with our families and children want to celebrate independence in the middle of our own sea,” said Iwan, after his ship was anchored at the edge of the Maju Bersama Beach, D Island, the reclamation area of ​​Jakarta Bay. The red and white flag fluttered on his boat.


Accompanied by a number of activists from the People’s Coalition for Fisheries Justice (Kiara), dozens of fishermen also expressed their disappointment over the implementation of the 74th anniversary ceremony by the Provincial Government of DKI Jakarta on D Island Reclamation this morning. For them, the development of the area or reclamation in the Bay of Jakarta really hit their livelihoods as fishermen.

The impact of the Jakarta Bay reclamation development began to be felt by fishermen from the Muara Angke area, Penjaringan, North Jakarta. Dodo, a fisherman from Muara Angke who participated in the demonstration came to hold Vanessa, his 9-year-old daughter. They wanted to go up to see the appearance of D Island.


Dodo said, the construction of artificial islands in the waters of the Jakarta Bay was very troublesome for them.

“Prior to this policy, 95% of our income was determined by marine products. Now it has dropped dramatically,” Dodo said. “If possible, there should be no more development. It’s enough.”


For fisherman like Dodo, the Jakarta Bay waters area that is being developed for the use of new residential areas in the reclamation project is starting to threaten their survival. Especially, he said, the development that covered the D, C and G Islands was really disturbing marine habitat that lived underneath.

“Fish barns are actually in the waters of D Island. We are really losing our fishing ground,” Iwan stressed. As a result of this reclamation, they find it difficult to get fish because their sea range reaches further.

“And now marine biota is no longer as fertile as before reclamation,” said Iwan.


Anies’ ‘populist’ speech


The views voiced by dozens of fishermen may not have been heard directly by Governor Anies Baswedan or the Provincial Government of DKI Jakarta apparatus below him. However, the protests and minor voices became very contrast with the words of Anies in his speech as Inspector of Ceremony in the ceremony.


In his speech Anies said that the 74th anniversary of the Republic of Indonesia which was held at Maju Bersama Beach (D Island) was intended to show that the land on D Island was part of the territory of the Republic of Indonesia. In addition, he said, the flag ceremony also witnessed that in the Capital City there was legal certainty over land for the benefit of future generations.


“We want to ensure that the Red and White flag is flying on this land. This land is under the state of the Republic of Indonesia,” said Anies.


Confirming that, after the ceremony Anies revealed the reason he determined Pantai Maju Bersama as the location of the ceremony.


“We deliberately organised it here to send a message to all that this land was formerly closed, as if it was private (individual) property, even from government elements it was often difficult to enter,” he said.


Susan Herawati, who was interviewed on the ship she was traveling with during the protest said, there was a fundamental imbalance in the preparation of the rules for the Zoning Plan for Coastal Areas and Small Islands (RZWP-3-K). As a guideline for land use in the Jakarta Bay, RZWP-3-K said that it does not accommodate the interests and rights of fishermen’s livelihoods.


“If we remember Bung Karno’s big idea to guarantee independence for the whole of the country, here we see that there was an injustice with the deprivation of the right to live and go to sea to fishermen on the coast,” he said.


Based on Law No. 27 of 2007 concerning Management of Coastal Areas and Small Islands, the direction of spatial use of coastal areas and small islands is mandated to the Regional Government. Subsequently, the Province and District compiled a Zoning Plan for Coastal Areas and Small Islands (RZWP-3-K). The preparation of RZWP-3-K should also be based on consideration of harmony and balance with the carrying capacity of the ecosystem.


However, Susan said, the process of preparing RZWP-3-K was not comprehensive because it ignored the socio-cultural dimension.


“The culture of this coastal community is different from the purpose of building this artificial island,” said Secretary General of the People’s Coalition for Fisheries Justice (KIARA).


Especially for fishermen in the northern waters of Jakarta, the development of the reclamation island does not touch their needs. The implementation of the flag ceremony on the reclamation of D Island, according to Susan, is a slap that increasingly makes the conditions of citizens dilemmatic.


“Already their residency rights are not recognized, they will also be relocated, now a flag ceremony is being held here. Very dilemmatic,” she said.


Contacted separately, Ohiongyi Marino, a researcher in the coastal and maritime division of the Indonesian Center for Environmental Law (ICEL), said that Anies’ statement was either populist or just to please some people. Although not so concerned with the flag ceremony on D Island, Ohiongyi reminded the urgency of environmental and social studies in the reclamation issue.


“There should have been a more comprehensive environmental and social study. We continue to believe that the reclamation island has been demolished and accompanied by the recovery of the Jakarta Bay,” he said. He also proposed the importance of increasing the protection of fishing areas in the waters against activities that threatened fishermen.


Fikerman, Kiara’s program officer added, if development actually removes the interests and basic rights of ordinary people, the policy must be re-examined.


“Actually, fishermen are not anti-development. But what kind of development and how, it should aim to improve the progress of the community, not damage and threaten them,” said Fikerman.


Arriving at the highest site of the stone steps arranged as the entrance to Pulau D, Dodo’s steps stopped. His daughter was waiting in several tillers below.


“This land doesn’t belong to us, but developers’,” he said.




Setiawan, Robertus Rony. “Singing Sendu Indonesia Raya on the Banks of the Jakarta Bay.” Https://www.alinea.id/nasional/anyi-sendu-indonesia-raya-di-tepi-teluk-jakarta-b1Xla9m4r. Accessed 21st of August 2019.