Transmigration program

Transmigration program

Overview
The transmigration program was an initiative of the Dutch
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

 colonial government
Dutch East Indies
The Dutch East Indies was a Dutch colony that became modern Indonesia following World War II. It was formed from the nationalised colonies of the Dutch East India Company, which came under the administration of the Netherlands government in 1800....

, and later continued by Indonesian government to move landless people from densely populated areas of Indonesia
Indonesia
Indonesia , officially the Republic of Indonesia , is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 13,000 islands. It has 33 provinces with over 238 million people, and is the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia is a republic, with an...

 to less populous areas of the country. This involved moving people permanently from the island of Java, but also to a lesser extent from Bali
Bali
Bali is an Indonesian island located in the westernmost end of the Lesser Sunda Islands, lying between Java to the west and Lombok to the east...

 and Madura, to less densely populated areas including Papua
Western New Guinea
West Papua informally refers to the Indonesian western half of the island of New Guinea and other smaller islands to its west. The region is officially administered as two provinces: Papua and West Papua. The eastern half of New Guinea is Papua New Guinea.The population of approximately 3 million...

, Kalimantan
Kalimantan
In English, the term Kalimantan refers to the Indonesian portion of the island of Borneo, while in Indonesian, the term "Kalimantan" refers to the whole island of Borneo....

, Sumatra
Sumatra
Sumatra is an island in western Indonesia, westernmost of the Sunda Islands. It is the largest island entirely in Indonesia , and the sixth largest island in the world at 473,481 km2 with a population of 50,365,538...

, and Sulawesi
Sulawesi
Sulawesi is one of the four larger Sunda Islands of Indonesia and is situated between Borneo and the Maluku Islands. In Indonesia, only Sumatra, Borneo, and Papua are larger in territory, and only Java and Sumatra have larger Indonesian populations.- Etymology :The Portuguese were the first to...

. The stated purpose of this program was to reduce the considerable poverty
Poverty
Poverty is the lack of a certain amount of material possessions or money. Absolute poverty or destitution is inability to afford basic human needs, which commonly includes clean and fresh water, nutrition, health care, education, clothing and shelter. About 1.7 billion people are estimated to live...

 and overpopulation
Overpopulation
Overpopulation is a condition where an organism's numbers exceed the carrying capacity of its habitat. The term often refers to the relationship between the human population and its environment, the Earth...

 on Java, to provide opportunities for hard-working
Utilitarianism
Utilitarianism is an ethical theory holding that the proper course of action is the one that maximizes the overall "happiness", by whatever means necessary. It is thus a form of consequentialism, meaning that the moral worth of an action is determined only by its resulting outcome, and that one can...

 poor people, and to provide a workforce
Workforce
The workforce is the labour pool in employment. It is generally used to describe those working for a single company or industry, but can also apply to a geographic region like a city, country, state, etc. The term generally excludes the employers or management, and implies those involved in...

 to better utilize the natural resource
Natural resource
Natural resources occur naturally within environments that exist relatively undisturbed by mankind, in a natural form. A natural resource is often characterized by amounts of biodiversity and geodiversity existent in various ecosystems....

s of the outer islands.
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Encyclopedia
The transmigration program was an initiative of the Dutch
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

 colonial government
Dutch East Indies
The Dutch East Indies was a Dutch colony that became modern Indonesia following World War II. It was formed from the nationalised colonies of the Dutch East India Company, which came under the administration of the Netherlands government in 1800....

, and later continued by Indonesian government to move landless people from densely populated areas of Indonesia
Indonesia
Indonesia , officially the Republic of Indonesia , is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 13,000 islands. It has 33 provinces with over 238 million people, and is the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia is a republic, with an...

 to less populous areas of the country. This involved moving people permanently from the island of Java, but also to a lesser extent from Bali
Bali
Bali is an Indonesian island located in the westernmost end of the Lesser Sunda Islands, lying between Java to the west and Lombok to the east...

 and Madura, to less densely populated areas including Papua
Western New Guinea
West Papua informally refers to the Indonesian western half of the island of New Guinea and other smaller islands to its west. The region is officially administered as two provinces: Papua and West Papua. The eastern half of New Guinea is Papua New Guinea.The population of approximately 3 million...

, Kalimantan
Kalimantan
In English, the term Kalimantan refers to the Indonesian portion of the island of Borneo, while in Indonesian, the term "Kalimantan" refers to the whole island of Borneo....

, Sumatra
Sumatra
Sumatra is an island in western Indonesia, westernmost of the Sunda Islands. It is the largest island entirely in Indonesia , and the sixth largest island in the world at 473,481 km2 with a population of 50,365,538...

, and Sulawesi
Sulawesi
Sulawesi is one of the four larger Sunda Islands of Indonesia and is situated between Borneo and the Maluku Islands. In Indonesia, only Sumatra, Borneo, and Papua are larger in territory, and only Java and Sumatra have larger Indonesian populations.- Etymology :The Portuguese were the first to...

. The stated purpose of this program was to reduce the considerable poverty
Poverty
Poverty is the lack of a certain amount of material possessions or money. Absolute poverty or destitution is inability to afford basic human needs, which commonly includes clean and fresh water, nutrition, health care, education, clothing and shelter. About 1.7 billion people are estimated to live...

 and overpopulation
Overpopulation
Overpopulation is a condition where an organism's numbers exceed the carrying capacity of its habitat. The term often refers to the relationship between the human population and its environment, the Earth...

 on Java, to provide opportunities for hard-working
Utilitarianism
Utilitarianism is an ethical theory holding that the proper course of action is the one that maximizes the overall "happiness", by whatever means necessary. It is thus a form of consequentialism, meaning that the moral worth of an action is determined only by its resulting outcome, and that one can...

 poor people, and to provide a workforce
Workforce
The workforce is the labour pool in employment. It is generally used to describe those working for a single company or industry, but can also apply to a geographic region like a city, country, state, etc. The term generally excludes the employers or management, and implies those involved in...

 to better utilize the natural resource
Natural resource
Natural resources occur naturally within environments that exist relatively undisturbed by mankind, in a natural form. A natural resource is often characterized by amounts of biodiversity and geodiversity existent in various ecosystems....

s of the outer islands. The program, however, has been controversial as fears from native populations of "Javanization" and "Islamization
Islamization
Islamization or Islamification has been used to describe the process of a society's conversion to the religion of Islam...

" have strengthened separatist movements and communal violence
Communal violence
Communal violence refers to a situation where violence is perpetrated across ethnic lines, and victims are chosen based upon ethnic group membership...

.

Under the Dutch



The policy was first initiated by the Dutch colonial government
Dutch East Indies
The Dutch East Indies was a Dutch colony that became modern Indonesia following World War II. It was formed from the nationalised colonies of the Dutch East India Company, which came under the administration of the Netherlands government in 1800....

 in the early nineteenth century to reduce crowding and to provide a workforce for plantations on Sumatra
Sumatra
Sumatra is an island in western Indonesia, westernmost of the Sunda Islands. It is the largest island entirely in Indonesia , and the sixth largest island in the world at 473,481 km2 with a population of 50,365,538...

. The program diminished during the last years of the Dutch era ( 1940's ), but was revived following Indonesian independence, in an attempt to alleviate the food shortages and weak economic performance during Sukarno
Sukarno
Sukarno, born Kusno Sosrodihardjo was the first President of Indonesia.Sukarno was the leader of his country's struggle for independence from the Netherlands and was Indonesia's first President from 1945 to 1967...

's presidency in the two decades following WW2.

In the peak year 1929, during in the 'Cultivation System
Cultivation System
The Cultivation System , or less accurately the Culture System, was a Dutch government policy in the mid-nineteenth century for its Dutch East Indies colony...

', in the Sumatra's east coast, more than 260,000 contract workers are brought, 235,000 of them from Java. Contract workers entered into a contract as coolie, if a worker asked for the termination of the contract in the company ('desertion'), he could be punished with hard labor
Hard Labor
Hard Labor is the eleventh album by American rock band Three Dog Night, released in 1974 .- Cover Artwork :The original album cover, depicting of the birth of a record album , was deemed too controversial and was soon reworked with a huge bandage covering the "birth". The cover also includes an...

. The mortality
Mortality rate
Mortality rate is a measure of the number of deaths in a population, scaled to the size of that population, per unit time...

 was very high among the coolies and abuse was common.

Post-Independence


After independence in 1949, under President
President of Indonesia
The President of the Republic of Indonesia is the head of state and the head of government of the Republic of Indonesia.The first president was Sukarno and the current president is Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.- Sukarno era :...

 Suharto, the program continued and was expanded to send migrants to more areas of the archipelago such as Papua
Papua (Indonesian province)
Papua comprises most of the western half of the island of New Guinea and nearby islands. Its capital is Jayapura. It's the largest and easternmost province of Indonesia. The province originally covered the entire western half of New Guinea...

. At its peak between 1979 and 1984, 535,000 families, or almost 2.5 million people, moved under the transmigration program. It had a major impact on the demographics of some regions; for example, in 1981 sixty percent of the three million people in the southern Sumatra province of Lampung
Lampung
Lampung is a province of Indonesia. It is located on the southern tip of the island of Sumatra and borders the provinces of Bengkulu and South Sumatra. Lampung is the original home of the Lampung people, who speak a distinct language from other people in Sumatra and have their own alphabet. Its...

 were transmigrants. During the 1980s, the program was funded by the World Bank
World Bank
The World Bank is an international financial institution that provides loans to developing countries for capital programmes.The World Bank's official goal is the reduction of poverty...

 and Asian Development Bank
Asian Development Bank
The Asian Development Bank is a regional development bank established on 22 August 1966 to facilitate economic development of countries in Asia...

 as well as by many Western
Western world
The Western world, also known as the West and the Occident , is a term referring to the countries of Western Europe , the countries of the Americas, as well all countries of Northern and Central Europe, Australia and New Zealand...

 governments who appreciated Suharto's anti-communist
Anti-communism
Anti-communism is opposition to communism. Organized anti-communism developed in reaction to the rise of communism, especially after the 1917 October Revolution in Russia and the beginning of the Cold War in 1947.-Objections to communist theory:...

 politics. However, as a result of the 1979 energy crisis
1979 energy crisis
The 1979 oil crisis in the United States occurred in the wake of the Iranian Revolution. Amid massive protests, the Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, fled his country in early 1979 and the Ayatollah Khomeini soon became the new leader of Iran. Protests severely disrupted the Iranian oil...

 and increased transportation costs, the budget and plans for transmigration were severely reduced.

In August 2000, after the Asian financial crisis and the fall of the Suharto regime, the Indonesian government again reduced the scale of the transmigration program, due to a lack of funds.

Under the restructured Department of Manpower and Transmigration (Indonesian: Departemen Tenaga Kerja dan Transmigrasi) the Indonesian government maintains the transmigration program, although on a far smaller scale than in previous decades. The department assists in annually relocating approximately 15,000 families, or nearly 60,000 people. The rate has shown gradual increases in recent years with funding for transmigration activities at $270 million (2.3 trillion IDR
Indonesian rupiah
The rupiah is the official currency of Indonesia. Issued and controlled by the Bank of Indonesia, the ISO 4217 currency code for the Indonesian rupiah is IDR. Informally, Indonesians also use the word "perak" in referring to rupiah...

) and a target of relocating 20,500 families in 2006.

Aims


The stated purpose of the program, according to proponents in the Indonesian government and the development
Economic development
Economic development generally refers to the sustained, concerted actions of policymakers and communities that promote the standard of living and economic health of a specific area...

 community, was to move millions of Indonesians from the densely populated inner islands of Java, Bali and Madura to the outer, less densely populated islands to achieve a more balanced population density
Population density
Population density is a measurement of population per unit area or unit volume. It is frequently applied to living organisms, and particularly to humans...

. This would alleviate poverty by providing land and new opportunities to generate income for poor landless settlers. It would also benefit the nation as a whole by increasing the utilization of the natural resources of the less-populous islands. The program may have been intended to encourage the unification of the country through the creation of a single Indonesian national
National identity
National identity is the person's identity and sense of belonging to one state or to one nation, a feeling one shares with a group of people, regardless of one's citizenship status....

 identity
Identity (social science)
Identity is a term used to describe a person's conception and expression of their individuality or group affiliations . The term is used more specifically in psychology and sociology, and is given a great deal of attention in social psychology...

 to augment or replace regional identities. The official position of the Indonesian government is that there is no separation of "indigenous people" and settlers in Indonesia, because Indonesia is a country "of indigenous people, run and governed by and for indigenous people". It argues instead for the use of "vulnerable population groups" which can include both tribal groups and the urban poor.

Economic


In many examples, the program failed in its objective to improve the situation of the migrants. The soil
Soil
Soil is a natural body consisting of layers of mineral constituents of variable thicknesses, which differ from the parent materials in their morphological, physical, chemical, and mineralogical characteristics...

 and climate
Climate
Climate encompasses the statistics of temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure, wind, rainfall, atmospheric particle count and other meteorological elemental measurements in a given region over long periods...

 of their new locations were generally not nearly as productive as the volcanic soil of Java and Bali. The settlers were often landless people lacking in farming skills, let alone skills appropriate to the new land, thus compromising their own chances of success.

Environmental


Transmigration has also been blamed for accelerating the deforestation
Deforestation
Deforestation is the removal of a forest or stand of trees where the land is thereafter converted to a nonforest use. Examples of deforestation include conversion of forestland to farms, ranches, or urban use....

 of sensitive rainforest
Rainforest
Rainforests are forests characterized by high rainfall, with definitions based on a minimum normal annual rainfall of 1750-2000 mm...

 areas, as formerly sparsely-populated areas experienced great increases in population. Migrants were often moved to entirely new "transmigration villages," constructed in regions that had been relatively unimpacted by human activity. By settling on this land, natural resources
Natural Resources
Natural Resources is a soul album released by Motown girl group Martha Reeves and the Vandellas in 1970 on the Gordy label. The album is significant for the Vietnam War ballad "I Should Be Proud" and the slow jam, "Love Guess Who"...

 were used up and the lands became overgrazed, resulting in deforestation.

Political


The program has resulted in communal clashes between ethnic groups that have come into contact through transmigration. For example, in 2001 the local Dayaks and the transmigrant Madurese clashed during the Sampit conflict
Sampit conflict
The Sampit conflict was an outbreak of inter-ethnic violence in Indonesia, beginning in February 2001 and lasting throughout the year. The conflict started in the town of Sampit, Central Kalimantan Province, and spread throughout the province, including the capital, Palangkaraya. The conflict was...

 resulting in hundreds of deaths and thousands of Madurese being displaced. Transmigration is controversial in the provinces of Papua and West Papua, where the majority of the population is Christian. Some Papuans accuse the government of Islamisasi, or Islamization
Islamization
Islamization or Islamification has been used to describe the process of a society's conversion to the religion of Islam...

 through transmigration. Other Papuans support transmigration because transmigrants are perceived as disciplined and hardworking, and because through transmigration, Papuans can make friends with people outside of their home provinces.

Figures


Transmigration from Java and Madura have resulted in large numbers of the population elsewhere, particularly in Sumatra
Sumatra
Sumatra is an island in western Indonesia, westernmost of the Sunda Islands. It is the largest island entirely in Indonesia , and the sixth largest island in the world at 473,481 km2 with a population of 50,365,538...

, Borneo
Borneo
Borneo is the third largest island in the world and is located north of Java Island, Indonesia, at the geographic centre of Maritime Southeast Asia....

, and Papua
Papua
Papua was the name, as provided to the Portuguese commander Jorge de Meneses while sheltering there in 1526, of the people living on Waigeo, one of the Raja Ampat Islands west of the Vogelkop Peninsula, now part of the West Papua province of Indonesia. The Spanish pilot Martin de Uriarte in the...

.
Based on 2010 census figures and ethnic prevalence, roughly 4.3 million transmigrants and their descendants live in North Sumatra, 200 thousand in West Sumatra, 1.4 million in Riau, almost a million in Jambi, 2.2 million in South Sumatra, 0.4 million in Bengkulu, 5.7 million in Lampung, 100 thousand in Bangka-Belitung, almost 400 thousand in Riau Islands, totaling some 15.5 million in Sumatra alone. In Kalimantan there are some 700 thousand transmigrants and their descendants in West Kalimantan, 400 thousand in Central Kalimantan, almost 500 thousand in South Kalimantan, and over a million in East Kalimantan, totaling 2.6 million for the whole area. Though numbers are a state secret, well over a million transmigrants are thought to reside in Papua and West Papua. Total Javanese and other transmigrants in Indonesia number roughly 20 million throughout the country.

Criticism


Indigenous peoples saw the program as a part of an effort by the Java-based Indonesian Government to extend greater economic and political control over other regions, by moving in people with closer ties to Java and loyalty to the Indonesian state. The government agencies responsible for administering transmigration were often accused of being insensitive to local customary or adat
Adat
Adat in Indonesian-Malay culture is the set of cultural norms, values, customs and practices found among specific ethnic groups in Indonesia, the southern Philippines and Malaysia...

land rights.

General

  • Hardjono, J. 1989. The Indonesian transmigration program in historical perspective. International migration 26:427-439.
  • Hollie, Pamela. 1981. Jakarta fights overcrowding Bali and Java. The New York Times January 11.
  • Rigg, Jonathan. 1991. Land settlement in Southeast Asia: the Indonesian transmigration program. In: Southeast Asia: a region in transition. London: Unwin Hyman. 80-108.
  • MacAndrews, Colin. 1978. Transmigration in Indonesia: prospects and problems. Asian Survey 18(5):458-472.

External links