Witness Questions Absence of Regulation on N. Bengkulu-Rejang Lebong Borders

Sudarman testifying as a Relevant Party at a material judicial review hearing of the Law on the Formation of North Bengkulu, Wednesday (12/5/2023). Photo by MKRI/Ifa.

JAKARTA (MKRI) — The Constitutional Court (MK) held another 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 Wednesday, December 6, 2023 in the plenary courtroom.

At the hearing, the Government of South Bengkulu Regency as the Relevant Party presented Sudarman, a retired civil servant of the North Bengkulu Regency Government, as a witness. Sudarman stated that the borders between North Bengkulu Regency and Rejang Lebong Regency were set by conservation forest areas since the enactment of Law No. 28 of 1959. He stated that the west side is North Bengkulu Regency and the east side is Rejang Lebong Regency, and that there had never been any border problem until the proliferation of Rejang Lebong Regency since the community and local government followed the laws and regulations to this day.

Sudarman said that Law No. 28 of 1959 did not emphasize the region’s borders as the Law on the Formation of New Autonomous Regions issued as a result of proliferation did, because the situation and conditions at the time were still very limited, without today’s satellite imagery or modern technology to determine coordinate points in the process of mapping the region.

“When TOPDAM I Sriwijaya personnel in collaboration with the provincial and regency boundary affirmation team measure coordinate points, 22 points of which I directly followed, it was confirmed that it was appropriate from the philosophical, sociological, and historical perspectives where Lebong regent’s claim at the time that the North Bengkulu Regency Government had taken Lebong ancestors’ graves was inaccurate.” said Sudarman before Chief Justice Suhartoyo and the other eight constitutional justices.

He also emphasized that since the enactment of Emergency Law No. 4 of 1956, which was followed by Law No. 28 of 1959 until the issuance of Law No. 5 of 1979 on Village Administration, the kewedanaan system still applies. In North Bengkulu Regency there is Lais Kewedanaan under which there are four clans: Lais, Bintunan, Sebelat, and Ketahun, all of whose boundaries are BW (Bewij Zen) protected forests.

In addition, continued Sudarman, Lebong people’s livelihoods since a long time ago were mostly gold miners (only a small portion were farmers and/or planters). It is very common that Lebong area is not too large because Rejang Lebong Regency is also surrounded by protected forests.

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 

Former Lebong Regent Reveals Territorial Agreement

Petitioner’s Expert Reveals Lebong’s History

Dispute between Lebong-North Bengkulu Regency Governments over Padang Bano

At the preliminary hearing on Tuesday, July 25, 2023, the Petitioners of case No. 71/PUU-XXI/2023 asserted that Article 1 point 10 of the Law on the Establishment of North Bengkulu Regency and its elucidation had harmed them, as it had resulted in the loss of the entire Padang Bano Subdistrict as well as some of 18 villages in 6 other subdistricts.

They 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  : Nyi Mas Laras Nur Inten Kemalasari/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, December 06, 2023 | 14:27 WIB 52
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