Wrecked Assets in Ambitious Project
The development of the Indonesian International Islamic University has resulted in the loss and destruction of Radio Republik Indonesia assets. This is an ambitious project forced through by President Jokowi.
THE former Radio Republik Indonesia (RRI) transmission complex in Cimanggis, Depok, West Java, is now a silent witness to the poor management of the transfer of state assets in the administration of President Joko Widodo. In order to build the Indonesian International Islamic University (UIII) campus, the government changed the status of the land without providing any compensation, and without first moving RRI assets worth hundreds of millions of rupiah that were on the site.
Since June 2018, buildings and auxiliary facilities of the UIII campus have been under construction on the 142.5-hectare site. President Jokowi himself laid the project’s cornerstone. Not many people know that when the large-scale ceremony was underway, RRI assets in the form of 18 towers, 13 transmitters and a Voice of Indonesia transmitter building that was still broadcasting in nine languages had been abandoned. According to RRI supervisory board member Frederik Ndolu, the value of the institutions assets on the land could have been as much as Rp7 trillion.
As is well known, the Indonesian International Islamic University is an ambitious project of President Jokowi aimed at ensuring that Indonesia has a world class Islamic campus. Four years ago, Jokowi signed Presidential Regulation No. 57/2016 on the establishment of the campus. The construction costs set aside were Rp3.5 trillion, which came from the State Budget. Initially Jokowi wanted the campus to be built on 1,000 hectares of land. However, because his aides did not find an area large enough, Jokowi finally agreed that the RRI transmission complex would be used instead.
It is difficult not to state that the government was reckless when going ahead with the project to build this huge campus. The religious affairs ministry, which is responsible for the building of the campus, should have ensured that all legal matters were resolved before construction began. However, the compensation in the form of land to relocate the RRI assets was not yet settled. The plots of land offered were either not suitable or were still tied up in other legal issues. As a result, without a replacement location, some of the RRI assets have fallen into disrepair, have not been maintained or have even disappeared due to theft. The value of the damaged and missing RRI assets can be seen as a loss to the state.
This haste could be related to the request from President Jokowi for the construction of the UIII campus to be complete by the end of 2019. At the beginning of last year, the President even appointed Komaruddin Hidayat as dean long before the masters and doctorate level campus with its seven faculties had been established.
As well as the problem of the RRI assets, opposition also came from hundreds of families that had been living on or using the land for decades. They were also evicted without satisfactory compensation. Although the religious affairs ministry stated that the land in Cimanggis was the property of the state, locals insisted that they had rights over it due to their possession of eigendom verponding, or land deeds from the era of the Dutch colonial government. Although their lawsuit at the Bandung State Administrative Court was rejected, the dispute led to a four-month delay in the construction of the campus.
The government seems not to have learned from the vulnerability of this type of lighthouse project to corruption and the danger of putting political interests above the law. Previously, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono was entangled in the corruption case involving the construction of the athletes training center in Hambalang, Sentul, West Java, and now there is the UIII project dispute in the era of President Jokowi.