Petitioner’s Expert Reveals Lebong’s History

Chief Justice Anwar Usman and Constitutional Justice Arief Hidayat at a material judicial review hearing of the Law on the Formation of North Bengkulu, Monday (11/6/2023). Photo by MKRI/Ifa.

JAKARTA (MKRI) — Lebong is the homeland of Rejang people, who currently spread across North Bengkulu, Rejang Lebong, Kepahiang, and Central Bengkulu Regencies, said professor of language education of the Faculty of Teacher Training and Education (FKIP) of the University of Bengkulu (UNIB) Sarwit Sarwono at a 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 on Monday, November 6, 2023 in the Constitutional Court’s (MK) plenary courtroom.

Sarwit added that based on the records of Indigenous Regional Peoples of the Archipelago (AMAN Da) Taneak Jang dated October 21, 2018, it is said that since 1952, Padang Bano and its surrounding areas such as Ulau Uei, Limes, Kemung, and Sebayua have been plantation areas of the people of Pelabai, Sukokayo, Tik Tebing, Kota Baru Santan, Tik Teleu, Taba Baru, and Gunung Alam Villages—villages within the territory of Lebong. In the records, Mong Sigak in Urai Hilir was named after Sigak bin Nagari Angin Padang from Sukokayo Village, who performed activities in the area. Around the same time, several people from Pelabai and Kota Baru Santan Villages opened land for plantations at the head of Urai River. They were Menan, Kader, Seman, Sliman, Mr. Sanai, Mr. Inua. The records also mentioned that the channel Talang Lubuk Galek in Padang Bano belonged to the people of Tik Tebing Village. In 1958, Abuman (deceased), Baha (deceased), H. Aliadin, Smeer (deceased), Saidil, Alamsyah, and Aliata (deceased) also farmed in Padang Bano.

“This continued until 1971 and 1983, when Padang Bano, Ulau Uei, Limes, Kemung, and Sebayua became plantation areas for the people of Pelabai, Sukokayo, Tik Tebing, Kota Baru Santan, Tik Teleu, Taba Baru, and Gunung Alam Villages. As such, in 1952-1983, Padang Bano was the channel of Lebong people,” Sarwit explained before the hearing chaired by Chief Justice Anwar Usman.

In his expert testimony, he revealed that sociologically and genealogically, there was a connection between Padang Bano and Lebong. “Not from the coast, from North Bengkulu to Lebong—excuse me—to Padang Bano, but the opposite. I did not find any records that coastal people, coastal Rejang people, had migrated upstream since it would be against the theory of the local migration of Rejang people. What I found was the opposite, from Pelabi and its surroundings downstream to Padang Bano, even to Lais Pesisir and Ketahun by the sea,” he stressed.

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At the preliminary hearing on Tuesday, July 25, 2023, the Petitioner of case No. 71/PUU-XXI/2023—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—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        : 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.

Monday, November 06, 2023 | 15:43 WIB 133