One day, a friend, brother and also my teacher, Herman Zohdi, S.Pd.I., gave the news that he had just finished a meeting with the Development Planning Board (Bappeda) of North Lombok, related to the preparation of the Regional Regulation (Perda) of Spatial Development in Pemenang District, from Malaka Village, East and West Pemenang, to Gili Indah Village. He was present as a representative of the Non Governmental Organization (NGO). All this time, he had been known to be active in community affairs, from the village to the regency. So he was often invited, either as a facilitator, a resource person as well as a guest. Something that had been discussed in that meeting was related to a large billboard containing visual information about the infrastructure development plan in the area of Bangsal. The billboard had been displayed at an intersection in Pemenang, about a year ago. That ‘visual information’ of the development had shown how the road to Bangsal would be transformed into two lanes, with a row of shops on its left and right side.
At the secretariat of my community, there was a warm conversation between me and my friends about the visual information on that billboard too. It was a glimmer of shadow of a better spatial in our area. Our worry, then, was still limited to how the rapid growth of tourism in our area, which was the gateway to the Three Gili, would erode the traditional values of our society. As time went by and the physical construction was getting more developed, that worry was increasingly related to each other.
However, for Herman Zohdi, that information was very confusing and became a big question because that information had appeared before the Regional Regulation of Spatial was legitimized. Then, based on what that information on the billboard was structured? How was the socialization to the community? All seemed unclear. Meanwhile, people believed that information so much and had been hoping and anxious at the same time since the presence of that large billboard at the intersection.
The quite rapid tourism growth in Pemenang triggered the rapid development, especially to support the tourism sector. According to the data that could be accessed on the North Lombok Regency website, the number of tourists who visited North Lombok, especially to the tour area in Pemenang District was increasing year after year. The tourism, since the Government of North Lombok intensively had made it as a pillar of the economic growth of the society, had indeed become all parties’ attention. In fact, various issues of development to accommodate the needs of tourism had appeared. One of the issues we had heard had been that a Domestic Airport would be built in Bangsal area. This airport would make the access easier for tourists who would visit North Lombok. All this time, Lombok had only gotten what Bali or other areas had left behind. The tourists did not really –from their countries- come to Lombok. Thus, it was expected with the presence of this airport facility, the tourists indeed made Lombok, especially North Lombok, as the initial destination of tourist attraction, not the last one.
Bangsal was the name of the port in Pemenang. This port connected the Lombok Island with Three Gili (Gili Air, Gili Meno and Gili Trawangan). In Bangsal, a lot of people of Pemenang earned a living for daily needs, such as being a ticket seller, a glasses trader, a porter, a coachman of cidomo, an ojek driver, a merchant and various other types of business. These businesses evolved along with the development of tourism in the Three Gili.
The beginning of the discourse of the Domestic Airport construction in the west of Bangsal Port had been when North Lombok had still been a part of the West Lombok Regency, which at that time had been led by H. M. Izzul Islam. At that time, there had been an investor who had wanted to invest to build a ‘Mini Airport’ with the intention to serve tourists who would enter the Three Gili. Besides, the construction of this Mini Airport had been for the convenience of tourists, especially in terms of transportation.
When North Lombok had already separated itself from West Lombok, the same discourse had reappeared. At that time, North Lombok had still been led by Drs. H. L. Bakri. In fact, during the leadership of M. Ridwan, the same discourse had reappeared. Today, under the leadership of H. Djohan Sjamsu, SH, the similar discourse was promoted again and this time that discourse was discussed among several public figures in Pemenang, one of them was Herman Zohdi. According to the information from Zohdi, the conversation about this Domestic Airport came up after forum talked about the Spatial Regional Regulation of Pemenang District. Since there were too many ideas that arose at that time, the time to discuss it as a whole was insufficient. This then made the Spatial Regional Regulation not to be discussed in detail. By the forum, Herman Zohdi was given the mandate to perfect that Regulation.
“I confirmed and waited. When I was given the mandate to perfect that Regulation, however, I needed a little budget to gather people who were competent in their fields, to discuss the matter. I’ve been waiting until now, but there has been no certainty from the local government,” said Zohdi.
Regarding the issue of who the leader was, my friends and I heard the complaints of cidomo’s coachmen who considered that in the past, when the North Lombok had not separated itself yet from the West Lombok Regency, the arrangement system of circulation track of public transport had been better. But basically, the irregularity of that Regional Regulation or spatial plan itself was always rolled on each change of the policy holder. And the society, after all, would just accept it in the end.
But at that time, some leading figures in Pemenang District including Herman Zohdi became the first people to oppose that Spatial Regional Regulation. This was caused by the absence of a clause that mentioned who would be responsible and how much the value of accountability for public lands that would be executed should the construction of that infrastructure happened, for example, about how the land compensation system between those who had land certificates and those who do not. Of many citizens of Pemenang, not all of them had clear land certificate. Zohdi questioned it several times, but the Local Government had not been able to answer, and considered that it was just a technical problem that was easily solved.
There had been no clarity yet about the Spatial of Pemenang District, as well as its Regional Regulation. One thing that was clear at this time for all parties was that Bangsal’s status had changed. Now, Bangsal had become an International Port. This change of status, on one hand, was very good. However, on the other hand it became a boomerang. Nowadays, with the rapid tourism, people also raced to establish buildings, in the hope that, of course, what they built could become the sources of economic development. The promising position was the land on the roadside. Then, if this Spatial in Pemenang District was not immediately socialized, it was possible that there would be a bigger conflict especially with the change of status of Bangsal to become an International Port. This change of status would increase the chance of acceleration of development, such as roads. If the main road was widened, then the people who had already built would be affected. Therefore, that Regional Regulation of the Spatial should be immediately completed. The Regional Regulation was the legal protection. If there were people who built on the zone that had been determined by the local government, then the local government could press. But of course that was not what we wanted. What we wanted was all levels of citizen’s awareness that the development was very important to support the economic growth of society.
“The development in KLU (North Lombok Regency) is the responsibility of everyone. So, if the development is not in accordance with the needs and the desire of the people, they can reject and cancel it,” said Zohdi.
Herman Zohdi’s information more or less had given the answer. Before getting out of his house, Herman Zohdi gave us some names that might give more detailed information about it. One of them was Dr. Mochsin Mochtar, one of the leading figures in Pemenang District. That night, even though it was drizzling a little, Gozali and I visited him. We had previously exchanged news via SMS. Dr. Mochsin was no stranger to us. He had helped our community. Some time ago, when the film of Elesan Deq A Tutuq had been produced, he had written for the catalog. Then, he also had held a screening of that film with his students at IAIN Mataram. That night, we took time to discuss about several things related to the activity of Pasirputih Community and some of his activities, both on campus and in Pondok Pesantren Al-Hikmah Pemenang. Then, when we expressed our intention and gave him a question, he sighed a little and then explained that the problem we had stated was an old problem that was still debated until now.
What was delivered by Herman Zohdi was not much different from the information delivered by Dr. H. Mochsin Mochtar, MA. Incidentally, he was also present at the meeting which I mentioned above. According to him, that meeting initially was a District Musrenbang (Development Planning Consultation), which discussed the development plan in each village, in the proposal of their Development Planning. However, the discussion widened towards the spatial. This discussion widened because there were a lot of problems associated with the tourism condition despite the fact that many villages did not touch the existing problems in Bangsal although according to Dr. Mochsin, if only the infrastructure problem in Bangsal had been proposed by the village and then had been overseen to the regency, the construction of infrastructure in Bangsal might have been realized. The proposal submitted by the village was usually the same proposal that had not been realized in the previous year. If even the residents had not understood their surrounding condition, then do not be surprised with the chaotic spatial in Bangsal area. This indicated how the society was not ready to welcome the more developed tourism because the nature of the society was relative. They were still normative on policies. People had become passive in development proposals. And of course this had a bad impact on the society itself.
For Dr. Muchsin, now was a good time to discuss about the Spatial of Pemenang better, especially Bangsal, seating all parties in one place and beginning to think seriously about the development in Bangsal, considering the good and the bad for all parties. The absence of explanation from the local government about this thing would cause a lot of social jealousy which would cause an imbalance.
“Now, because there has been no regulation, people are free. What does it mean? The government has not been serious yet. It should’ve been through legislation,” he said firmly.
He remembered that he had once asked an employee of the local government about that visual information that had been displayed at the Pemenang intersection about a year before that the thing that had been printed had been intended only to make people of Pemenang excited. That shocking information had been heard by Dr. Mochsin from the mouth of that employee himself. The relationship between the government and its society was very ironic, if it was true that communication was built that way.
However, the first thing that we must fixed was the viewpoint in seeing Bangsal. The rate of development in Bangsal all this time was constrained because Bangsal was only seen as a transit point. Therefore, the Bangsal area had not been taken seriously yet, both by the Local Government and the community itself. Dr. Mochsin had ever been to Losari, South Sulawesi. He compared a little what he had seen in Losari with the condition of the current Bangsal. He imagined if only Bangsal could be like that. That meant, it did not just think about the presence of foreign tourists, but also became a place for local people.
“Local people need a place too to relax and to refresh,” he said.
Dr. Mochsin also realized that, for the initial stage, what the residents of Pemenang needed now was not the construction of infrastructure, but to strengthen the Human Resources (HR). All this time, what had been happening was the lack of human resources, causing some parties to only take advantage of the presence of Bangsal. Even with facilities that existed today a lot of problems happened, let alone if the main priority was always the physical development. Moreover, basically, the residents of Pemenang were not a tourism society. They were a farming society and the east and west areas next to Bangsal were the fertile fields or lowlands for the farmers. From the data of North Lombok Regency, it was indeed known that the Pemenang District had about 32,910 ha lowland, or about 71.5% of the total lowland in North Lombok, which could be used for various types of cultivation, including the food. The Pemenang region alone contributed 417 hectares of lowland rice and 5,151 hectares of field rice. Meanwhile, North Lombok was one of the rice barn producers in West Nusa Tenggara Province. So basically, the community of Pemenang had a very strong memory of farming and when the tourism grew, people were faced with the polemical reality.
Dr. Mochsin saw this with an open mind, that in almost all regions in Indonesia, a farmer always suffered a financial loss. It was fortunate if the spending and income were proportionate. This, according to him, became one of the factors why farmers shifted. In almost all regions of Indonesia, the agricultural land reduced because, when compared to other works, farming produced less profit. Moreover, in the world of agriculture, there were a lot of speculators playing. Besides, according to him, the main obstacle of agriculture, especially in Pemenang District, was water distribution problem. Dr. Mochsin had many memories with a rice field. In the past, the water had been abundant. But now the water was very limited.
“Now, you should have a water machine, otherwise, you will not be able to get the water so that it results in the profit problem. That farmer’s effort does not pay off. Besides the way of farming that is still traditional, which means the yield will be a little, when you need fertilizer, the fertilizer is limited so the price becomes expensive. However, in the harvest time, the rice price has started to fall. Now, under Jokowi administration, how many people who like to play with the price of fertilizer and other things have been found so far?” he said.
He continued, psychologically, when the profit from the farming was small, these farmers would be tempted by the bigger profit which could be obtained from other types of business, such as laborers in Bangsal. Therefore, we could not blame the farmers when many of them sold their lands. They needed money any time, meanwhile the harvest time occurs only once in three months.
Furthermore, about the issue of the Domestic Airport or Mini Airport that would be built in Bangsal area, Dr. Mochsin admitted that he had heard of the issue too. However, he was not so sure that this could happen, especially considering that issue like this always had to do with political interest, especially if that issue arose at this time, when the political atmosphere in North Lombok was heating up because soon North Lombok people would decide who led them for the next five years.
“Okay! Maybe that is all for now, Kak Tuan. Thank you,” Gozali closed the meeting with Dr. Mochsin that night.
We went home with a light burden. As the residents of Pemenang, whose pattern of life, in certain circumstances, was affected by the development of Bangsal and Gili tourism, I felt it was important to frown, thinking about how, why and what exactly happened. The suspicions over the obscurity of the development plan in Bangsal arose, while the issue continued to grow and became the topic of conversation among all circles, like bringing out new hopes, but then they burst like a balloon. So actually, what was the clear draft about Pemenang? For how long the issue of development always became a political discourse? Meanwhile, when the people who were ready to compose a good spatial plan were not welcomed by the local government of North Lombok, then how was the condition of the residents who would certainly be involved in the construction? Were they going to be the object of development, or the subject?
Regardless of whether or not the ‘Mini Airport’ on the west area next to Bangsal Port would be built, what still concerns us all is the number of potential problems caused by the delay of the Spatial Plan of Pemenang area. Have you imagined, if we were not really serious in playing Age of Empire? Right! All will be disorganized. In a short time, the enemy will dominate our region, destroying it to pieces. What I mean with ‘not really serious’ is, if we do not measure the development strategy, human resource capacity, and of course the natural resources as well. Age of Empire has four different ages: Dark Age, Feudal Age, Castle Age and Imperial Age. In any change of age, we are required to upgrade the human resources. For example, from an archer who uses a bow to an archer who uses a crossbow, from a man who can fight one on one to a soldier who can face two to three enemies.
Assume of all the chaotic elements in this land-political agenda, development plan based on community needs, (false) public expectations-as a ‘blue print’ in Pemenang then we can compare it with something similar in the Age of Empire. If the interested parties do not really think about the need to consider the quality of human resources, the readiness of natural resources and the thoughtful and good strategy for the development, then the thing that is expected by all parties will not be able to be realized optimally. Of course, this will have an impact on the ideals of the local economy improvement. Instead of wanting to create a good and conducive tourist area, what happens will be a chaos.