9.8. Grouping of Residental Areas Based on Ethnic and Religion in Bukittinggi, West Sumatra

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Create Date11 October 2016

Kristina Viri (Kampus Orang Muda Jakarta/KOMJAK)


Bukittinggi is a strategic city since Dutch colonialism era. That’s why this city is resided by multiethnic people. There are Minangkabau, Java, China, Batak, India, Nias, etc. What was interesting to me was  from the colonial era until at least the year of 2011 the group still live in “pockets areas” of ethnic and/or religion. It has led me to do some research (in 2011) and ask the question: why did groupings based on ethnicity and/or religion is survive until post-colonial era? There are also a value which live in this area called Adat Basandi Syara’, Syara’ Basandi Kitabullah-ABS-SBK [custom based on religion, and religion based on book of Allah (Al-Qur’an)]. This value already formalized in some local regulation. It has also led me to ask: “Is the ABS-SBK which was formalized into local regulation becomes a reason why grouping of citizens based on ethnicity/religion still exist? So how does the existence of non-Muslims?

To answer these questions I have lived in Bukittinggi for approximately two months, conducting interviews and observations in the pockets area of Batak, Minangkabau, China and Java. From this research, there are four conclusions: First, the grouping of residential occurred due to the non-Minang difficulty of acquiring land, is closely related to Minang culture that maintains a high heritage (including land). Moreover, the senses of shared destiny as immigrants also strengthen the bonds of brotherhood between them who are from one ethnic. Second, there are conflict of interests among ethnic groups, which appears most clearly was among the Minangkabau and Batak. Third, there are some local regulations that discriminate against non-Islamic groups. Fourth, local government’s policy does not bridge the differences; instead establish firm boundaries between the majorities of Muslims as a major of citizens with other groups as second class citizens.

Keywords: Citizenship, Bukittinggi, Ethnic, Religion