The Diplomat (2023)

In Lombok, the AIIB’s due diligence and transparency failures can be traced to the very beginning of its involvement. Before approving the Mandalika project in December 2018, the AIIB instructed the ITDC to conduct a comprehensive land assessment. The ITDC submitted a report stating that 92.7 percent of the selected land for development was “clean and clear” from conflicts, which became the grounds on which the AIIB approved funding. Yet this number is a gross oversimplification – if not outright misrepresentation – of the true conditions in Mandalika.

Land conflicts remain a serious problem across Indonesia due to voids in formal land titles, limited recognition of customary land rights, and incomplete official records. Lombok Island, in particular, carries a history of violent land seizures tied specifically to tourism investments, and enforced through coercion and aggression by state security forces. Prior to the AIIB’s approval of the project, protests and land clashes intensified in Mandalika as the ITDC and Indonesian government accelerated their involuntary land acquisitions.

Read the article in full: The Diplomat