Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan has approved buildings on artificial islets despite criticism of the issuance of 932 building permits (IMB) on Islet C and D, called Pantai Maju and Pantai Kita.

The Jakarta administration sealed the buildings in June last year when Anies argued that they did not have construction permits.

However, by December the seals had been lifted from the site and replaced by billboards advertising luxury houses and office spaces on the islets.

On Wednesday, Jakarta One Stop Service (PTSP) Agency head Benny Agus Chandra confirmed that the agency issued the building permits on the islets developed by PT Kapuk Naga Indah, a subsidiary of the Agung Sedayu Group.

Anies defended the issuance of the building permits, saying that it had undergone proper procedures, that he had already kept his campaign promise of stopping further reclamation and that the reclaimed islets would be available for public use.

“Every step has been taken according to procedure. Every request for building permits is not announced [publicly]. If you request a building permit it will be processed according to the requirements needed for a building permit. Your name will also not be announced publicly. This is not done secretly; this is just a regular administrative procedure,” Anies said in a written statement made available on Thursday evening.

He said that every sealed construction project, including on the reclaimed islets, must be processed by law through the courts and the developer had been slapped with a fine by the North Jakarta District Court before requesting a building permit again.

He said that reclamation and the use of land made by reclamation were two separate matters and he had stopped reclamation by revoking the permits for 13 islets back in September, meanwhile four islets, C, D, G and N, were left alone as they had finished being reclaimed from the sea.

Islet G is being developed by PT Muara Wisesa Samudra, a subsidiary of PT Kencana Unggul Sukses, which in turn is a subsidiary of PT Agung Podomoro Land.

Islet N is being developed by state-owned port operator PT Pelindo II.

“There are four coastal areas [islets] that had been formed from past reclamation projects. The fact is that they have become land now. The four will be used according to regulations for public use,” he said.

“That was our campaign promise, to stop reclamation and to make use of the already reclaimed land for the public and we have consistently executed those promises,” Anies added.

He said that the reclamation off the Jakarta coast was a national government project as according to Presidential Decree No. 52/1995 on reclamation and Jakarta Bylaw No. 8/1995 on reclamation and, according to a deal between the private developers and the Jakarta administration in 1997, private companies developing the reclaimed islets would receive 35 percent of land use rights.

“All the [reclaimed] land belongs to the Jakarta administration; private companies only had the right to 35 percent of the reclaimed land,” he said.