Indonesian official says sale of islands prohibited after property site lists two islands up for sale

Two Indonesian islands have been listed for sale on an international property website managed by Ontario-based Private Island Inc. that specialises in island properties.
Two Indonesian islands have been listed for sale on an international property website managed by Ontario-based Private Island Inc. that specialises in island properties. PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM PRIVATEISLANDONLINE.COM

JAKARTA (THE JAKARTA POST/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Indonesia's Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry has stressed that selling islands is illegal under Indonesian regulations after two of the country's islands were recently listed for sale on an international property website.

The ministry’s deputy for maritime sovereignty, Arif Havas Oegroseno, said in Jakarta on Wednesday (Jan 17) that putting an island up for sale violates a government regulation on the utilisation of small and outer islands. “What can be sold are plots of land on islands,” Havas said at the ministry as quoted by tempo.co.

He said that under the regulation, the maximum area of land that can be sold is 70 per cent of the total land area of the island, while the other 30 per cent should be allocated for public interests.

He added that the people who controlled the island territory had no authority to exploit resources on the seabed surrounding the island.

His comments came after Ajab Island in Riau Islands province and Tojo Una Una Island in Central Sulawesi appeared for sale on privateislandonline.com since Tuesday. The website, which is managed by Ontario-based Private Island Inc, specialises in island properties.

According to the website, Ajab Island, only a 20-minute boat ride from tourist destination Bintan Island, is being offered for US$3.3 million (S$4.4 million) under a freehold title. The island is described as an undeveloped 30ha property with a white sandy beach.

"Although Ajab Island, also known as Pulau Ajab, is not developed, development is permitted," the website states.

The website listed Tojo Una Una Island, located only 10 minutes from the nearest island of Wakai, as "upon request" with a leasehold title. It claims that Tojo Una Una, which is described as an undeveloped island of more than 1,200ha, is surrounded by pristine waters and coral reefs that are ideal for diving.

"This large 3000+ acre island has been in the family for over 120 years and is remote, but accessible enough to create the perfect tourism destination," according to the website. "The island is also suitable for the 'jabon wood industry'," it adds.