IKN, Organization and ‘Reverse Policy’
We understand that he IKN Authority are in a race against time in carrying out the big mission of realizing Jokowi's legacy. However, do not let this big dream run on a flawed process that ignores many state principles.
Law No. 3/2022 concerning the state capital is now one year old.
This is a strong legal basis for this relocation, one which was never realized by previous administrations even though the discourse on relocating the national capital has echoed from time to time. Within the law, by the end of 2022, the Capital City Nusantara (IKN) Authority had to be fully operational, becoming the main agency for the preparatory, development and relocation functions, and later also for administering the IKN special administration.
The definitive IKN Authority has started to get filled with personnel. First, the head and deputy head were sworn in in March 2022. Then, a number of mid-level positions also began to be filled with the appointment of a secretary, three deputies and head of the legal and compliance unit on 13 October 2022. They were appointed with reference to the provision that for the first time they can be appointed by President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo based on the proposal of the head of the IKN Authority. Followed by the inauguration of four deputies on 15 February 2023, two of them were the results of an open selection whose process began at the end of December 2022.
As a new organization burdened with the task of managing a national (super) strategic project, one of the classic problems that will arise is how much remuneration IKN Authority leaders and staff deserve. One precedent that is often used as a reference for asking for higher remuneration as “State Civil Apparatus (ASN) -plus" is the Aceh-Nias Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Agency (BRR) after the 2004 tsunami.
Problems regarding remuneration packages for leaders have also begun to be resolved, at least after the issuance of Presidential Decree No. 13/2023 which regulates financial rights and other facilities for IKN Authority heads and deputy heads who are positionally officials at ministerial and deputy ministerial levels. With this reference, officials at lower levels will of course begin to calculate how much remuneration they will receive, which makes the IKN Authority more and more like "candy" attracting so many people to join.
Is it finished? Not quite yet. In the IKN Authority organization there are still many key positions that have yet to be filled. Of the 27 high-rank Pratama positions, 10 bureau heads and directors were sworn in on 13 January 2023. The remaining positions have not been filled because open selection did not find candidates deemed qualified enough. There are also selected candidates who are ready to be inaugurated, but are hampered by their non-ASN status, so it is not possible to be appointed to senior Pratama/echelon 2 positions.
This was once questioned by the State Civil Apparatus Commission (KASN), in November 2022, when an open selection process was underway. Not surprisingly, when reopening selection for the positions of bureau heads and a number of directors on 20 February 2023, this opportunity was only given to ASN.
Apart from the definitive/organic positions regulated under Presidential Decree No. 62/2022 concerning the IKN Authority and regulations of the head of the IKN Authority and No. 1/2022 concerning organization and work procedures, the IKN Authority has also discussed forming an ad hoc organ that will assist the organic structure. It could be that this was based on the pretext of accelerating performance and making the IKN Authority an agile organization, as was echoed at the beginning of the discussion on the initial IKN bill.
This has already started to be realized, starting with the position of the acting chief of urban mobility, as has been publicly announced. As for how many ad hoc positions equivalent to chiefs will be added, there is no information that has been disclosed to the public. On this matter, without adequate transparency, potential latent problems arise, namely clashes with organic structures.
What are the relations and business process mechanisms between the organic officials and the ad hoc organs? Without clarity on these mechanisms, it is as if the IKN Authority is breeding shadow-organizations without control, instead of strengthening the synergy and coherence of new organizations like the IKN Authority. For this reason, the IKN Authority needs to reflect on the shadow organization case at the Education, Culture Research and Technology Ministry, which was once a polemic in September 2022.
The next question is, what are the IKN Authority’s work targets starting in the 2023 period, especially when they have not yet received a separate Budget Execution List (DIPA)? It would be an elementary mistake if the IKN Authority later used this as an excuse to shift all responsibility for basic infrastructure development to other ministries or agencies.
After all, so far the basic infrastructure work, such as logistics and toll road access, the Sepaku Semoi Dam and the Sepaku intake and housing for construction workers, have been carried out by the Public Work and Housing Ministry. The Mentawir nursery, which is frequently visited by the President and is planned to become the main supplier of IKN reforestation, is carried out mainly by the Environment and Forestry Ministry.
The reality that related technical ministries and institutions are still the main executors, including in matters of budgeting, certainly cannot be a shield for the IKN Authority to let go of the coordination of the entire process leading up to the relocation of the national capital — which will be stipulated in a presidential decree expected to be issued before Jokowi’s administration ends on 20 October 2024.
Not to mention if it later appears overclaimed, the minimum contribution that is recognized as a result of the IKN Authority's work, for example. That there are still problems within the IKN Authority, yes, but will this continue to be used as an excuse? After all, the IKN Authority has always stated that coordination and collaboration are an important part of how it works.
Currently, the government is preparing a revision of the IKN Law that has been included in the 2023 National Legislation Program. It is not common practice for a law that is only a year old, with "heavyweight" strategic material, such as the IKN Law to be included. Some parties said that revisions had to be made because IKN was lacking in investors, even though the IKN Authority on various occasions said it was oversubscribed, with more than 140 investors expressing interest in investing in Nusantara.
From the discussion regarding the public private partnership (PPP) scheme, it was stated that three consortia were interested in housing development projects and had conducted intensive talks. In accordance with the provisions, since the IKN Authority began operating, it has been the head of the IKN Authority who acts as the person in charge of the cooperation project (PJPK). According to the request of the head of the IKN Authority, in September 2022, the National Development Planning Ministry was asked to be the proponent of the revision of the IKN Law.
The process of preparing the revised material has been going on intensively, raising the next question: will the experience of deliberation that took place for the previous IKN Law be repeated, which only took 40 days to get to the ratification of the law?
Currently the House of Representatives is undergoing recess until mid-March 2023. Even if the proposed revision of the law is carried out immediately after the recess period, is there enough energy for the House (and Regional Representatives Council) to discuss it properly and carefully, especially bearing in mind that starting in the second quarter of 2023, we will be increasingly preoccupied with various political agendas ahead of the 2024 elections. Or is it that we are deliberately taking steps to slip in amid a busy agenda?
In terms of substance, a number of issues about the changes have begun to be conveyed to the public, for example strengthening the IKN Authority’s institutions and authorities. One of the clauses that could potentially be included is to "justify" the recruitment of non-ASN at the JPT Pratama/echelon 2 level.
If indeed the intention to recruit the nation's best citizens to join the IKN Authority had emerged from the start, without a solid regulatory basis, why did the process that violated the existing regulations continue? Also a hot topic is related to incentives and ease of investing, including regarding the grace period for land rights.
Do not let this big dream run on a flawed process that ignores many state principles.
The scenario is that the draft government regulations (which were never finished) are adopted into the revision of the law in order to gain a stronger legal standing. But with the process already underway, what are the feasibility study assumptions that will be used by investors when the provisions regarding the existing rights to cultivate (HGU) are much shorter than what would be proposed in the revised law?
In short, what the IKN Authority and the nation as a whole are facing in the development of IKN is very challenging. Of course, it is not good if policies are made and applied backwards, for example to simply legitimize steps that have been, or are being, taken without the right policy and regulatory basis. The term “reverse policy” becomes risky when applied only to justify oversight. Not to mention if the haste in preparing the policy is repeated again with minimal public participation
President Jokowi on various occasions has announced that the commemoration ceremony for the anniversary of the independence of the Republic of Indonesia on 17 August 2024 can be held in the new capital city Nusantara. The word “relocation” has been reduced to just a "ceremony", where the initial intention of relying on the concept of a complete capital city could only be realized with cut and fill work to prepare field land, with the first wave of 16,990 ASN relocating in 2024 will be the main participants of that ceremony.
We understand that the IKN Authority and related technical ministries and institutions are in a race against time in carrying out the big mission of realizing Jokowi's legacy toward the end of his tenure. However, do not let this big dream run on a flawed process that ignores many state principles.
Public Policy and Consumer Protection Observer, PH&H Public Policy Interest Group
This article was translated by Kurnia Siswo.