Dr. Alex Grainger
University of Kent

This paper proposes to examine how far land rights have changed in relation to land acquisition for ‘mega-projects’ since the New Order period, which “allowed the grant of rights to uncultivated and/or non-residential untitled lands without obtaining the consent of the relevant local community and without triggering the legal obligation to pay adequate compensation to holders of expropriated titles” (Fitzpatrick, 2005:90). Previous work on land has focussed on the politics of forested land usage and acquisition (for example, Peluso 2001, 2007 and 2016; Gellert and Andiko 2015). Less work exists on land acquired for mega-projects, especially in Java, although there are some notable exceptions (Wells and Ahmed 2007; Davidson 2015). Building on these latter approaches especially, the paper suggests that three factors listed below can illuminate how far the land rights of those that live on sites proposed to be acquired for the Jakarta-Bandung high speed rail have been impacted, since 1998. First, the consortium of domestic business interests that holds 40% equity in PT KCIC (Kereta Cepat Indonesia-China) and its relations with the government; second, the local regulatory framework; and third, an examination of compensation schemes and the reasons for differentials in them.

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