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close this bookAgricultural Expansion and Pioneer Settlements in the Humid Tropics (UNU, 1988, 305 pages)
close this folder11. Ex-military settlements in Indonesia and the emergence of social differentiation in frontier areas
View the document(introductory text...)
View the documentInitial efforts
View the documentEarly settlement pattern
View the documentThe Sapta Marga concept applied
View the documentTowards integration
View the documentConcluding remarks
View the documentReferences

Towards integration

In the period following 1966, the integration of the various transmigration programmes of the 1960s (sponsored by departments such as Social Affairs, Transmigration, and Area Development and Manpower, Transmigration and Cooperatives) became a goal in itself for several reasons.

First, there was of course the simple reason of wanting to simplify the approach by having a single co-ordinator for the programme such that scarce resources and funds could be more effectively utilized. Second, the Basic Law on Transmigration of 1972, known as Law no. III/1972, constituted a basis upon which to develop more effective ways of interdepartmental co-ordination.

It became clear that transmigration was meant not only to resettle people from densely populated areas to scarcely populated islands outside Java and Bali but also to increase the migrants' prosperity in general by providing them with better assets in rural areas. Even though the law provides opportunities for making labour or manpower available, the fundamental idea has been to improve the small farmer's conditions of life such that he could become self-sustaining.

Third, the awareness in government circles that acquisition of land and development in the so-called outer islands, as well as the formation of new societies, required better coordination between several departments, of which the most important are Forestry, (still a directorate general within the Ministry of Agriculture), the Interior, Public Works, and Communication. At a later stage, of course, the Economic, Co-operatives, Education, and Defence departments were also increasingly involved, namely, after the operations of actual settlements.

Plans to undertake transmigration in the context of area development emphasized the need for co-ordination and integration even more. Transmigration can only be executed through concerted action, as a collective effort by a great number of government agencies.

Steps to co-ordinate agencies in the field followed accordingly. Gradually it became possible to provide the governors of provinces receiving transmigrants with a major coordinating function. Presidential Decree no. 26/1978 provided the authority needed.

In many respects the transmigration programme remained a project of the central government. However, at the provincial level, the governor acted as the local administrator on behalf of the central government and as such became the counterpart of the minister in charge of transmigration. It is the governor at the provincial level who, together with his planning board, decides where transmigration settlements will be established, how many migrants will be received, how land is to be acquired from the local people, and when migrants can come and settle in the area reserved and cleared for them. In other words, a joint committee comprising a great variety of government agencies involved in the total operation is created to assist the governor in the exacting task of developing settlement areas in accordance with provincial needs and goals.

The minister for transmigration at the national level has been entrusted with the highest authority to implement transmigration programmes in the country, and thus military resettlements become his responsibility. Although there is a bureau within the Department of Defence and Security to take care of military (often retired personnel) resettlement, the implementation in the field becomes the concern of the Transmigration Department.

Thus what we see in the field is a change from exclusively military settlements, as in Central Lampung, Sumatra, to integrated settlements (civilians and military). Examples in North Lampung and South Sumatra provinces are Way Abung and Baturaja-Martapura. The villages are inhabited by retired military personnel and civilians, mostly farmers. True, within the boundaries of one settlement one could still find whole hamlets or neighbourhood localities of such ax-servicemen, but at least this is a more realistic mix between the two large categories of migrants, and, taking projects as a whole, there is usually a distinct majority of civilians.

Occasionally, there was circulated the idea that military personnel could form the leading contingents in the process of technology transfer and therefore needed to be spread among civilian migrants in smaller numbers. The military settlers were believed to be better organized and on average, better educated (minimally in possession of an elementary school education plus additional training while in the service). Especially among the officers the chances are good that their education is superior to that of the average transmigrant.

This has given rise to a form of intellectual migration, like that of the prewar days, the magersari colonization, which resulted in a patron-client relationship between the betterand lesser-educated categories of migrants (Kampto Utomo 1975).

It was also noticed in military settlements that, due to the retention of military distinctions relevant to previous military units, the superior-inferior relationship was very much kept alive. Officers though retired, were still treated as superiors by those lower in rank. Also, the difference in pension and other allowances influences behavioural patterns. In the farming business, risk taking, for instance, is more feasible among high ranking ax-servicemen than among lower ranking ones.

The patron-client relationships which thus emerge often create a dependency not conducive to modernization and preserve traditional attitudes.

Moreover, the purchase of fertilizers, better varieties of seeds, as well as the cultivating of food and perennial crops, are less within the possibilities of the lowranking military migrants (MET-IPB 1980a).

What is true among military settlers is even truer among military with civilian migrants. Not infrequently, new spontaneous (civilian) migrants who come to an area as settlers can find initial employment with the better-off military migrants. They are provided with some housing on the home plot or close to the sometimes distant cultivated plot and become farmer-labourers before working themselves up to ownercultivators of smaller plots. In this sense, the richer military migrant is helpful in providing the first employment opportunity, but there is undoubtedly in this an element of elitism as in the magersari colonization.