Lebong Regency Govt Questions Certainty of Borders

Legal counsel Yusril Ihza Mahendra explaining the subject matter at the preliminary hearing of the judicial review of Law on the borders of Lebong Regency, Tuesday (7/25/2023). Photo by Humas MK/Ifa.

JAKARTA (MKRI) — The regional government of Lebong Regency, Bengkulu Province challenges Article 1 point 10 and letter a of the general provisions point II of the Development of Old Autonomy Regions in South Sumatera letter b subsection I point 10 of Law No. 28 of 1959 on the Stipulation of Emergency Laws No. 4 of 1956, No. 5 of 1956, and No. 6 of 1956 on the Formation of Level II Regions Including Township within Level I Region of South Sumatera into Law to the Constitutional Court (MK). The preliminary hearing for case No. 71/PUU-XXI/2023 took place on Tuesday, July 25, 2023 in the plenary courtroom with Constitutional Justices Arief Hidayat, Enny Nurbaningsih, Manahan M. P. Sitompul presiding.

Legal counsel Gugum Ridho Putra asserted that the a quo article is against Article 18 paragraphs (1), (2), (5); Article 25A; Article 28C paragraphs (1) and (2); Article 28D paragraph (1); Article 28I paragraph (3); and Article 32 paragraph (1) of the 1945 Constitution. He explained that based on the Lebong Regency Regulation No. 4 of 2017 on the Recognition and Protection of Rejang Customary Law Communities, the Petitioner is authorized to manage customary law communities in several sub-districts in a certain administrative area. And until 2018, a total of 12 Rejang customary law communities have been established and recognized in six sub-districts; they are Uram Jaya, Pelabai, South Lebong, Topos, Rimbo Pengadang, and Lebong Atas. The customary law communities inhabited an area of 9,766.1 hectares with a population of 10,300 people.

The norm is challenged because the unclear administrative area and boundaries of the regional government of North Bengkulu Regency has resulted in boundary disputes, especially in Padang Bano Sub-district and in some of the 18 villages in 6 other sub-districts that fall within the boundaries established by Permendagri (Regulation of the Home Affairs Minister) No. 20 of 2015. Due to this uncertainty, the North Bengkulu Regency legitimized the territory by incorporating the communities in the area into its territory without regard to the rights of the communities to determine for themselves how they preserve and develop their customs and culture. The Petitioner sees this as in conflict with the guarantees in the 1945 Constitution. In addition, due to the unclear boundaries, the Petitioner is also unable to protect the rights of the Suku Sembilan and Selupu clans, who are indigenous to Rejang. Not only that, the Petitioner also cannot issue a regent’s decree to protect the culture, language, and customs of these communities.

“The unclear boundaries of the administrative area and boundaries of the regional government of North Bengkulu Regency in the law of the establishment of North Bengkulu Regency legitimize the working area of the regional government of North Bengkulu Regency without boundaries, legitimize the authority to expand sub-districts without boundaries past the administrative areas of other regional governments, and violate the right of local communities to organize and manage government affairs and interests according to their own initiative,” Gugum said from the plenary courtroom.

Proof of Boundaries

In response, Constitutional Justice Enny Nurbaningsih asked for proof of an agreement on the boundaries of North Bengkulu and Lebong, which is also related to the Permendagri that defines clear boundaries, so it is necessary to add proof in order to see the core problem. “It is not regulated, while there are rules that determine these boundaries,” she said.

Next, Constitutional Justice Manahan M.P. Sitompul said that the Lebong Regency and the North Bengkulu regional governments are state institutions. He questioned whether the issue at hand could be classified as a conflict between state institutions, which is also under the Constitutional Court’s jurisdiction, but is another type of case. “If it cannot be reviewed in the Supreme Court, is this indeed an authority dispute between state institutions? So, it needs to be elaborated whether or not it is an authority dispute between state institutions,” Manahan advised.

Meanwhile, Constitutional Justice Arief Hidayat said, “Because this is an open legal policy, the Court does not have the ability to examine further because it requires in-depth research and the Court can only allow witnesses, experts.”

At the end of the hearing, Justice Arief reminded the Petitioner that they had 14 days to revise the petition and submit it no later than Monday, August 7 at 10:00 WIB to the Registrar’s Office.

Author       : Sri Pujianti
Editor        : Lulu Anjarsari P.
PR            : Raisa Ayuditha
Translator  : Yuniar Widiastuti (NL)

Disclaimer: The original version of the news is in Indonesian. In case of any differences between the English and the Indonesian versions, the Indonesian version will prevail.

Tuesday, July 25, 2023 | 15:23 WIB 178