Jakarta’s Informal and Formal Land Right

Why were the Jakarta government able to accuse the kampong residents for occupying the marginal spaces of the city even though the former government approved them to freely construct their housings? According to Supriatna (2018), kampong housings are not constructed under legal standard of the government; instead, they are constructed under informal land right of the country. Nevertheless, formal form of land right and informal land right are both considered legal in Jakarta (Cuadra, Sears and Gieble, 2015).

In Indonesia, there are two types of legal land rights: one as the “formal” land right and the other as “informal” land right (Cuadra, Sears and Gieble, 2015). During Dutch colonial era, the government allowed the native citizens to regulate their space according to local regulations if it is not going against Dutch law (Supriatna, 2018). After colonial period, according to Basic Agrarian Law (BAL), all lands must be registered since 1960s with National Land Agency (Badan Pertanahan Nasional, BPN) (Kusno, 2012). However, the “formal” land is registered in the National Land Agency, while the “informal” land is recorded in land books of village or sub-district offices (Supriatna, 2018), resulting in the dual land legal system. While the both form of land rights are recognized as legal land rights in Jakarta, the problem of unregistered land right is that it is lack of formal records (Cuadra, Sears and Gieble, 2015) and not approved by the governmental authorities (Supriatna, 2018).

The majority of the land is registered as “informal” land in Jakarta. According to Zhu and Simarmata (2015), the amount of unregistered land owners had overly exceeded the amount of registered land owners in Jakarta in 1988; moreover, informal housing development happened majorly chiefly in the unregistered land regulated by the village offices. Hence, major area of the unregistered land was developed under informal development by the citizens rather than formal urban planning. Moreover, since the housings are not regulated under registered law of the government, “informal” land is free to develop under its own regulation and avoid a lot of building regulations (Kusno, 2012). Therefore, it is somehow understandable that the government raises objections to the informal settlements.

Image Source:  Supriatna, Andri. Analysing Land Tenure Security of Urban Kampung in Jakarta, 2018.




  1. Cuadra, Linda, Sears, Laurie J., and Giebel, Christoph. This Grievable Life: Precarity, Land Tenancy, and Flooding in the Kampung of Jakarta, 2015, ProQuest Dissertations and Theses.
  2. Kusno, Abidin. “HOUSING THE MARGIN: PERUMAHAN RAKYAT AND THE FUTURE URBAN FORM OF JAKARTA.” Indonesia, no. 94 (2012): 23-56,149.
  3. Supriatna, Andri. Analysing Land Tenure Security of Urban Kampung in Jakarta, 2018.
  4. Zhu, and Simarmata. “Formal Land Rights versus Informal Land Rights: Governance for Sustainable Urbanization in the Jakarta Metropolitan Region, Indonesia.” Land Use Policy 43, no. C (2015): 63-73.

1 Comment on “Jakarta’s Informal and Formal Land Right

  1. Was there any social implications or conflicts of the informal settlements that ‘intrude’ into formal land boundaries during the change of government policies? Since this ‘problem’ has been around for a long time, I believe to formalize and register all the land will take a considerable amount of time and effort. Was there any Government strategies involved? Since majority are managed as ‘informal’ land, was there ‘informal’ strategies such as bribery?

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