As countries around the world work to tackle the spread of Covid-19, the threat of business interruption has become real, throwing arrangements into disarray, disrupting workforce, and upsetting the global economy.
At home, the government has begun issuing various countermeasures and relief for businesses and public alike. The following is a summary of legislation and government updates issued to navigate the Covid-19 outbreak. Our team continues to assess developments, which will be issued in the weeks to come.
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Coronavirus Spurs More Government Entities to Move Online
Joining other entities that have moved their services online, the Ministry of Land Affairs (Kementerian ATR-BPN) recently issued a circular letter No. 3/SE-100.TU.03/III/2020 ("Circular Letter"), requiring every local land office to adjust the provision of its services with the actual condition in their respective jurisdiction.
Starting from 20 March 2020, some services such as registration and revocation (roya) of mortgage, land check and the issuance of a land registry certificate can be conducted online via https://htel.atrbpn.go.id/, while other services that require a land visit or physical interaction between the applicant and the official will be restricted or cancelled.
Although this might be a breakthrough amid the Covid-19 outbreak, it is important to note that even now, there is still a dissimilarity of service level among land offices in Indonesia in implementing land-related services.
In addition, local authorities are known to have different policies or approach with regards to physical distancing. To date, only a handful of governors have issued a decree that puts their province in a state of emergency due to Covid-19. As a result, not all land offices have closed their doors to physical service.
Online versus Ontime
While the Circular Letter sets out the electronic procedures, the implementation will, of course, be highly dependent on the readiness of each land office to quickly shift from manual service to online. The readiness of the online system's infrastructure and the officials have been called into question, and it is likely that there will be a potential delay.
Further, not all land offices have optimised the Ministry's website. Most land offices in the DKI Jakarta and surrounding areas have partly implemented online-based services prior to the outbreak, but those outside of Java island have yet to adopt the online service. Another potential backlog is the insistence of some land offices in receiving physical documents, as opposed to using email or other cloud services (like Dropbox) for receiving and sending documents.
But Will it Work?
Any attempt of imposing physical distance during this time, no matter how small, is appreciated. But the Circular Letter does not address the handling of services that require an in-person measurement process, such as initial land registration, extension or renewal of land title and splitting/merging of certificates. Instead, it simply states that these in-field services will be (at least, temporarily) halted.
For now, we would recommend that parties that are currently involved in or intending to conduct land-related transactions should maintain intensive communication with the relevant land officials to ensure that there is no unreasonable delay to their transactions.
AHP Client Alert is a publication of Assegaf Hamzah & Partners. It brings an overview of selected Indonesian laws and regulations to the attention of clients but is not intended to be viewed or relied upon as legal advice. Clients should seek advice of qualified Indonesian legal practitioners with respect to the precise effect of the laws and regulations referred to in AHP Client Alert. Whilst care has been taken in the preparation of AHP Client Alert, no warranty is given as to the accuracy of the information it contains and no liability is accepted for any statement, opinion, error or omission.