Former Lebong Regent Reveals Territorial Agreement

The Petitioner’s witnesses after taking oath to testify at a judicial review hearing of the Law on the Formation of North Bengkulu, Wednesday (10/25/2023). Photo by MKRI/Ifa.

JAKARTA (MKRI) — The sixth material judicial review hearing 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 commenced in the Constitutional Court (MK) on Wednesday, October 25, 2023. It was presided over by Chief Justice Anwar Usman and five other constitutional justices.

The case No. 71/PUU-XXI/2023 was filed by Lebong regent Kopli Ansori and Lebong regency DPRD (Regional Legislative Council) chairman Carles Ronsen on behalf of the regional government of Lebong Regency, Bengkulu Province. 

Agreement Document

The hearing presented the Petitioner’s witnesses, Dalhadi Umar and Firdaus. Dalhadi explained the agreement letter on territorial borders during his time as Lebong regent.

“In 2007, the Bengkulu governor did facilitate an agreement, which was attended by the heads of the regions, military resort commander (Danrem), regional police chief (Kapolda), etc. From the regions, [I] came with the DPRD chairman and important figures. The event was chaired by the governor since morning. From morning until lunch break, the agreement document was displayed page by page, with everyone contributing to its revision. A moment before asar prayer, it was completed. The governor then called for a recess without reading it again, straight to signing. A moment before magrib prayer, all of us signed the document. We then went back home and planned a coordination meeting to explain the resolution of the border dispute to the community. However, when we reread it, the printout that we received was different from the one displayed. Some of the articles were different. Regent and DPRD chairman then proposed an amendment to the governor so that the agreement be adjusted to the one displayed,” he explained.

He asserted that when he was regent, he received the governor’s recommendation with the disputed areas included in his regency’s budget.

“There was no issue that could have disrupted the administration at the time,” he said.

Asked about a withdrawal letter, he explained that before Lebong Regency was proliferated with Law No. 39 of 2003, a Lebong community figure came and questioned the territorial borders. “The issue was there was an agreement prohibiting acts such as setting up border monuments. Only the old monument existed. When I was the regent’s caretaker, the Rejang Lebong regent asked for Padang Bano issue to be settled soon because its residents were not respected,” Dalhadi revealed.

Next, Firdaus, head of the administration department in 2015-2017, explained about an Interior Minister’s Regulation (Permendagri) signed on January 26, 2015. “That day, I was inaugurated as head of the administration department. After opening documents on the territory borders of Lebong and North Bengkulu Regencies, including the aforementioned agreement, [I found that] Lebong regent and DPRD rejected the agreement with various reasons,” he said.

He emphasized that the documents he uncovered did not mention any response from the provincial government on the agreement. “A month after I was inaugurated, I received information from the head of the Regional Development Planning Agency (Bappeda) that the permendagri on the borders of Lebong and North Bengkulu had been issued. So, I [searched and found] that there was a permendagri but No. 20 of 2015 had not been signed. [I] then reported it to my superior and received an order to ensure it and coordinate with the Ministry of Home Affairs to confirm the issuance of the permendagri. It was concluded then that we had to take steps to review it with the Ministry. We did that and made a letter. The permendagri ordered the governor to review past agreements. In the event that any of agreements need correction, the governor requested us to facilitate an agreement between the two disputing regions and to make the minutes for it,” he explained.

Also read:

Lebong Regency Govt Questions Certainty of Borders 

Petitioner’s Legal Team Reveals Lebong-North Bengkulu Territorial Dispute 

Govt Asserts Formation of Lebong Regency in Line with Constitution 

Bengkulu Governor Talks Lebong Regency’s Borders

DPR, North Bengkulu Regent Respond to Lebong Regency's Claims 

At the preliminary hearing on Tuesday, July 25, 2023, the Petitioner asserted that Article 1 point 10 of the Law on the Establishment of North Bengkulu Regency and its elucidation had harmed them, as it resulted in the loss of the entire Padang Bano Subdistrict as well as some of 18 villages in 6 other subdistricts.

The Petitioner claimed to be able to prove that Padang Bano Subdistrict and some of 18 villages in 6 other subdistricts belong to them based on a Law on the regency’s establishment, given that the residents of those areas had belonged to the electoral district of Lebong Regency in the presidential, DPR (House of Representatives), DPD (Regional Representatives Council), and DPRD (Regional Legislative Council) elections in 2009 and 2014, not to North Bengkulu Regency.  

Author       : Utami Argawati
Editor        : Nur R.
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.

Wednesday, October 25, 2023 | 15:52 WIB 137