Aceh Reconstruction

Sep 26th, 2007, in News, by

Islamic law hinders reconstruction in Aceh.

The head of the Aceh-Nias Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Agency (Badan Rehabilitasi dan Rekonstruksi, BRR), Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, and his deputy Kamaruzzaman, said on September 21st to the Jakarta Post that the introduction of sharia law in Aceh was hindering reconstruction and rehabilitation efforts because foreign investors were scared off by Islamic law.

Kuntoro said:

The ongoing reconstruction and rehabilitation projects must also be accompanied by efforts to attract foreign investors. Otherwise, it will be difficult to activate the development programs in the province.

Kuntoro Mangkusubroto
Kuntoro Mangkusubroto with U.S. Ambassador B. Lynn Pascoe.

Both Kuntoro and Kamaruzzaman said the application of sharia law had hurt development programs in the province. Said Kuntoro:

Security has been the most frequent question aired by foreigners, but the implementation of sharia has also been of concern for them.

Kamaruzzaman, who is a GAM figure, said sharia was introduced undemocratically: jakartapost

To my knowledge, sharia implementation was introduced during the military emergency administration (of the 1990s). And we (GAM) were not in support of the idea, actually.

Kuntoro, who was educated at Stanford University, is known to keep a photo of early 20th century Sabang port, the main sea entry point to Aceh, on his wall, as a reminder that Sabang once rivalled bustling and cosmopolitan Hong Kong as a trade centre. iht

Meanwhile Elfian Effendi of Greenomics Indonesia said sharia had nothing to do with the success or otherwise of Aceh redevelopment and advised Kuntoro to be more tolerant:

Kuntoro’s statement on sharia is intolerable and has offended Acehnese people’s religious beliefs. He must withdraw it and make an apology to the Acehnese.

He said the BRR was trying to scapegoat sharia for the slow pace of the reconstruction work.

Up until August, only 25% of its 2007 budget had been spent and, according to World Bank data, only 43% of the BRR’s rehabilitation and reconstruction programs have been finished. But all this has nothing to do with sharia.

And deputy governor of Aceh, Muhammad Nazar, said: okezone

Religion can’t harm development. If there are people who say that then it’s wrong and irrational.


Don’t blame religion, because religion is never wrong. Aceh is open to anyone who respects the values of people here.

15 Comments on “Aceh Reconstruction”

  1. Rambutan says:

    Well, Kuntoro completely fails to explain how exactly syariah hinders reconstruction. I have the impression he wants to deflect criticism from the poor job BRR is doing. And syariah is the perfect scapegoat to offer to Westerners. Please note that I’m very critical of syariah implementation in Aceh and I believe that not much good comes from it. But the statement from Kuntoro is ridiculous and a cheap excuse for his own failures.

  2. Janma says:

    Yeah, but Muhammad Nazar saying “Religion can’t harm development. If there are people who say that then it’s wrong and irrational.”
    is also talking out his ass, religion can’t harm development? He also says.. “Don’t blame religion, because religion is never wrong. Aceh is open to anyone who respects the values of people here.”
    These are far from convincing arguments as I see it, religion can’t harm development??? Take a look at afghanistan under the taliban, no harm done?
    Now that’s an irrational statement if you ask me, and that religion is never wrong, excuse me?
    Sharia probably isn’t the main cause for holdups in aceh re-development, but I agree that it certainly would put off some investors and aide workers who are constantly accused of trying to convert muslims.

  3. Oigal says:

    No the scam here is what is “Greenomics” doing acting as a supporter for Sharia Law without declaring such leanings on their website, or as a policy brief.

    Many people would be supporting Greenomics, with $$ or otherwise and would be more than a little miffed to find they are supporters of Sharia Law as well.

    Secondly does anyone really think that implentation Sharia Law would not cause Foreign Investors to at least think twice? Given that Sharia Law by its very nature is subjective, ill-defined and at times brutal.

    mmm..Didn’t I just do this post on my own site..double mmmm

  4. Ihaknt says:

    Why bother helping these ungrateful bunch of people? They label the ‘foreigners’ as the baddies anyway.

  5. Putu Alberto Lee says:

    We need to help aceh and it’s people because it’s the source of sexy models, cut keke, cut tari, cut nora, cut rima, cut jeanete, cut the crap.

  6. Jayabaya says:

    Aceh do not need help from infidels (UN and USA), as according to syairah law all help from the enemy of muslim are haram

  7. Sputjam says:

    There are many similarities between the location of simgapore and aceh. singapore is situated at one end of the malacca straits at the southern tip of the malay peninsular (malaya) and aceh at the other end at the northern tip of sumatra.)

    All large trading ships making their trip to the far east makes singapore their hub for shipments to malay archipelago and indochina incluidng thailand.
    Aceh can make similar arrangement by turning banda aceh or similar ports into a hub for shipments to Myanmar, bangladesh, india east coast, and the malay peninsular etc

    All they need to do is to attracts port operators, like Maersk or even dubai port. dubai ports should be a good bet as they lost out buying ports in the US and is hungry for acquisition or investment somewhere. i believe there was a lafarge cement plant in aceh, which was destryed in the tsunami. Aceh governor can discuss for the acquisition and reconstruction of the cement plant to maximise returns to the region, as building of ports required enormous amount of cement and steel.

    I do not like to discuss pros and cons of syariah laws, as I believe there is no such law in the first place. Therefore matters pertaing to laws should be dealt with by the proffesionals in the field, such as lawyers and judges and not by religious zealots and should be based on the law of the land.

    the less religiously inclined a society is, the more advance they seems to progress. this seems to be in harmony with holy scriptures which warns mankind against idol worship as all religion indulge in one form of idol worship or another.

    And if there are those who says countries such as north korea as a country which have no religion but is eually backward, remember that in north korea, Kim Jong Il is worshipped as a god like figure (see national geographic whereby when the blind were given sight by american volunteer doctors, the first thing the north korean did was to bow and prostrate and praise pictures of Kim jong Il and not a word of thanks to the doctor)

    Holy sriptures were sent by God to free mankind from being enslaved by priests/clerics and bound and gag by religion. God’s laws have no flaws and can be universally applied. therefore, if a malaysian astronaut cannot fast and pray in space, then logic dictates that there is a flaw in that pillar of the religion and therefore must have been created by man. even the koran did not ask mankind to pray and fast.

    God’s guidelines in the holy sriptures are simple. certain food is forbidden, certain people you cannot marry, and certain acts like lie, cheat and treat you parents badly, and kill another person except for just causes you cannot do. Keep your chastity, and be humble and patient in face of adversity for God hate arrogants and most muslim clerics/muslims are arrogant. Stay away from lewd and evil acts even in secret and all praise is for God alone, the Almighty, the Wise.

    Muslim religionist must ask themselves, why is it that when God forbid idol worship, they indulge in it, when koran warns against clerics and priests, muslims ignore the warnings and appoint clerics as leader in their community and why when the koran makes no mention of daily worship rituals, muslim indulge in such acitivities.

    God’s reccomended way of life for mankind transmitted through the messengers are really simple. Only man complicate things for some reason or other. It is by following the reccomended way of life can we obtain blissfulness. The sercret to this is written in the holy sriptures, waiting for those who are sincere to guided. As for those who are not sincere, they will be misled and will try to find obscure meanings in a book full of emphasis.

  8. Sylvester says:

    Why aceh can not get any investors from their islam “brothers” in the middle east then? If they can, sharia is not a problem.
    Is aceh considered haram? Or Arabs think they are much better than acehnese, better to do business with infidels rather than their asian moslem “brothers”?
    Ooopss, I just forget that most middle east countries are still in the infidel’s armpit simply because they prefer money, he he.

  9. Hechter Schlenzendorff says:

    This must be the quote of the year:

    Religion can’t harm development. If there are people who say that then it’s wrong and irrational.

    I’ll have this printed on my T-shirt!

  10. Raden says:

    Arab position Acehnese as the source of cheap ‘pembantu’ (maid) and yet they do not really sure where is Aceh position in Indonesia huge archipelago. Speaking about capitalism, I think the Arab syeikh is one of the successful capitalism players indeed. When it comes where to spent their money, the sheiks of Arab prefer to buy huge bungalow in California. When it comes to chose for their wives, they select American blonde. When it comes to chose maid whom they can abuse then they think the Acehnese. But when there is tsunami in Aceh then the sheiks are simply forgetting or worse skip the CNN news, so sad.

  11. iamisaid says:

    Ahhh, another lame excuse to explain why there is so little progress in the three years since the 2004 Aceh Tsunami.

    The amount of cash and kind donated from international sources to Aceh is enough to rebuild 3 modern cities akin to the likes pre-Tsunami Aceh.

  12. Sputjam says:

    The amount of money donated for the tsunami never got to Aceh.
    Most probably, charities like Oxfam or UNaid etc, the cost of managing these charities itself is probably a few million a year, i.e. paying white guys New york/UK wages to manage the money you donate to impoverish third world states.
    In a normal situation, I would not be surprise if only 20% of the money donated actually reached its intended destination.

    In abnormal cases, such as tsunami incident, most of the donated money were wasted as various charities scrambled to outdo one another in providing similar aid.

    And when the disaster died out, I am sure there is some balance which the managers of these charities decided to provide for themselves. Hence billion donated does not mean billion reached its destination. All you have to do is see the incident in sri lanka and aceh and it is the local government doing all the work. The chaities have abandoned these areas after collecting their benefits.

    Aceh can if they want, build on their own intiatives, some kind of a hub port, without any foreign aid. But Aceh lack marketing and management skills.

    I mentioned Dubai ports because middle eastern countries are flushed with cash. They will not come if there are no proposal and presentation made on the potential. This in a way is similar to any investor, if you wish to invite them to any country, unless you happen to sit on a big brand name.

    Another huge investor in ports services are Hong Kong’s hutchitson whampoa (Hong Kong port and west port in port klang, malaysia) and singapore’s PSA. But these guys are already entrenched in the region and they are more into consolidating their position rather than investing in another port which could be a potential rival.
    Any investor, middle eastern or otherwise will invest in a place with potential and with good fundamentals. California and singapore more or less have these characteristics (the latter filled to the brim with indonesian and other south east asian money), although weather in california is much more pleasant.

  13. Raden says:

    As long as Acehnese practice the islam syairah law, alahualam, there will be no foreigners willing to invest for Aceh, I am sorry – the international world do not = muslim militant world.
    And never compare Singapore with Aceh, the Singaporean eat pork as halal & tasty food while Acehnese in contrary. The only way to succeed for Aceh to attract the middle-east muslim investors, from the same brotherhood. If the muslim big brothers ignore Aceh, then it is time to reconsider Syairah Law & it’s economic benefits, otherwise, Aceh pls stay calm & remain as a poor region.

  14. iamisaid says:

    “Don’t blame religion, because religion is never wrong. Aceh is open to anyone who respects the values of people here”, said the deputy governor of Aceh, Muhammad Nazar.

    May I ask Muhammad Nazar what exactly is his understanding and definition of the word – religion?

  15. dewi says:

    I must say for someone who was in meulaboh for 2 years, the belief was some time restricting in some kind of way. I’m not saying the religion was wrong or anything, but sometimes acehnese managed to utilize their belief to validate their xenophobic nature.

    And as far as the investors from middle east, other than qatar and red crescent, there were none whatsoever. It seems like the arabs are ignorant towards the suffering of the fellow moslem acehnese, as they always are towards all global issues. The catholic and christian NGOs are practically taking over the province.

Comment on “Aceh Reconstruction”.

RSS feed

Copyright Indonesia Matters 2006-2023
Privacy Policy | Terms of Use | Contact