A Chinese-Indonesian student has submitted a judicial review to the Constitutional Court challenging an article of the Law on Yogyakarta’s special status that bars Indonesians of foreign descent from owning land in the region.
Felix Juanardo Winata, a student at Gadjah Mada University Law School in Yogyakarta, asked the court to scrap a provision that outlines the province’s special authority with regard to land use and ownership, Article 7 point 2 of the 2012 law.
He argued that the article violated the 1945 Constitution.
“The implementation of the article gives the Yogyakarta administration the authority to handle matters regarding its own land. This literally allows them to arbitrarily determine policies regarding land affairs within the region,” he said on Wednesday, as quoted by Antara.
He said the article practically barred Indonesians of Chinese descent, like him, from owning land in Yogyakarta.
The plaintiff argued that the article legitimized a Yogyakarta regional deputy head instruction issued in 1975 regarding the policy of uniformity of land ownership for non-pribumi Indonesians.
Non-pribumi is a term which has historically been used to denote Indonesians of foreign descent – such as descendants of Europeans, Chinese, Arabs and Indians – and distinguish them from pribumi or native Indonesians, whose ancestral roots are thought to lie within the archipelago.
Then-Yogyakarta deputy governor Paku Alam VIII issued an order to give non-pribumi the right only to use, not to own, land in the region.
Felix cited Articles 20 and 21 of the 1960 Agrarian Law, which stipulate that the strongest land ownership right is obtained by inheritance and that only Indonesian nationals could be granted ownership rights.
“Thus I can conclude that Chinese descendants, as long as they are Indonesian nationals, have the right to land ownership,” Felix said. (vla)