• posted by Anindya Sep 12th, 2008

    Cak Nun gave a speech in the joint Reflection & Fast Breaking event for the victims of the Sidoarjo Mud Flow disaster.

    Cak Nun gave a speech in the joint Reflection & Fast Breaking event for the victims of the Sidoarjo Mud Flow disaster.

    Three days ago our family received an unexpected invitation from the residents of four villages which were affected by the mudflow disaster in Sidoarjo, to attend an event for breaking the fast and listening to a reflective speech with Emha Ainun Nadjib, who is better known as Cak Nun, a cultural expert and well-liked religious speaker.

    Frankly, I was initially reluctant and hesitant to bring this up, because in addition to being heavily covered in the media, this topic is a very sensitive one with many different interpretations. However, based on the spirit of sharing and not to judge who is right and wrong, I am willing to write about it in this blog. In addition to this, this is just my view as a member of the Bakrie family, who coincidentally is very familiar with this topic.

    On account of the massive impact on the live of the local populace, this mudflow disaster will continue to be a complex topic, even a controversial one. This disaster has been a severe blow to our family, even though we understand that this is nothing compared to the trials experienced by the thousands of residents who have been affected.

    Long before this topic became a hot and lasting news item, Ibunda Roosniah (my grandmother, wife of the late Achmad Bakrie) gave some advice which our family has relied on in acting on and responding to this problem. She told us that this was a disaster which was outside of everyone’s control. There is no need to fight over whether this was due to human error or a natural disaster. Clearly, residents have already suffered greatly as a result of this disaster. For this reason, Ibunda Roosniah asked that the family do their best to help those who have been affected and who have the right to receive assistance. This is what she entrusted to us, and we have abided by it.

    Amid the criticisms and derision from various sides, our team has tried to do one thing: focusing the attention on overcoming the impact of the disaster as soon as possible, or at least minimizing the damage. To do so, we always coordinate with the regional and central government to carry out various disaster relief efforts–from efforts to stem the mudflow (which since it was a natural occurrence will likely continue to flow), dealing with the land surface, and social relief, all of which will require enormous cost. In short, even though it was never imagined just how great the social impacts of this event would become (and we hope that it never happens again anywhere to anyone), our team is working hard to try and alleviate the burden on the residents.

    For that reason, even though on April 3, 2009 the Supreme Court announced an inkracht verdict (of binding legal status) that the mudflow was a natural occurrence and not the result of mining activity from our company, and on August 5, 2009 the East Java Police Department also issued a letter to cease investigation (SP3), we are going to continue to help the victims of the disaster to our utmost ability.

    To date we have already disbursed about Rp6.2 trillion to help the effort to alleviate the disaster and to relocate residents. This is a very large amount of funds for anyone, including our family (it is several times larger than the regional government budget of Sidoarjo). Moreover, these are cash funds which we must disburse, during a time when the global and national economies are being shaken up. This is where Grandmother’s mandate has really guided us to continue to give precedence to helping residents. Seeing how our group of businesses has been performing under the rather substantial negative effects of the 2008-2009 economic crisis, we must truly work hard to be able to continue helping those residents.

    Kahuripan Nirwana Village, a relocation village for victims of the Sidoarjo mudflow

    Kahuripan Nirwana Village, a relocation village for victims of the Sidoarjo mudflow

    We also help those who lost their homes and do not have proof of ownership so that they can once again own suitable homes in Kahuripan Nirwana Village. Those residents who do have valid proof of ownership have already been reimbursed for payment. According to the data which we obtained from the team in field, of 12,886 case files, the initial 20 percent payments have already been disbursed. For the remaining 80 percent, 11,271 (almost 90 percent) case files have already been verified. From these which have already been verified, 4,000 case files have already been paid in full. The remainder, based on an agreement, will be paid off in stages until 2012.

    My only purpose here in stating these figures is to clarify the various discrepancies which have been arising regarding this data. Of course, this effort of ours, despite applying to most of the residents, will not be able to satisfy everyone. Moreover, it is already a given fact that no one can be happy when disaster strikes.

    However, I am truly grateful to Allah SWT (God Almighty), that two and a half years after this unexpected disaster took place, finally, on Wednesday September 9, 2009, our family and residents could sit together. My heart was moved when me and my cousins–Aga, Andra, Harlin and Taufan–stood together before thousands of residents of Sidoarjo who appreciated our intention and the efforts we have been making.

    Even so, as I told them during this fast breaking event, the highest esteem must be given to the victims of the disaster, who have remained steadfast in facing this trying ordeal, as well as to the various parties who have relentlessly worked in the field: the Minarak team, public figures, Cak Nun (Emha Ainun Nadjib), all regional government offices (from the provincial and regency levels), and the various parties which I cannot mention individually here.

    The disaster has not fully been overcome yet. The mud continues to flow, having a very large impact. However, I believe that with a pure intention, the spirit of togetherness, and the fraternity between us, God willing we will be able to face all of the challenges we are facing.

Leave a Reply