Pusaka| 21 May 2022
Oil palm companies are clearing forests in Sorong Regency
From January to April 2022, it was discovered that two companies have been clearing forests for the expansion of oil palm plantations, namely PT Inti Kebun Sejahtera (IKSJ) in Klawiri Hamlet, Moi Sigin District, and PT Inti Kebun Sawit (IKS), in Klawor Village, Seget District, Sorong Regency.
Based on satellite image information and residents’ statements, the estimated loss of forest areas due to clearing by the two companies is 300 hectares in total, namely 60 hectares by PT IKSJ and 240 hectares by PT IKS. It is predicted that the deforestation areas will increase.
PT IKSJ and PT IKS are owned by and are subsidiaries of PT Ciliandry Anky Abadi (CAA), an Indonesian private company, which acquired the two companies from Kayu Lapis Indonesia (KALIA) Group, owned by the Sutanto family. CAA also acquired an oil palm company, PT Inti Kebun Lestari (IKL), in this region.
Part of the shares in the said three companies and the shares in PT CAA are held by Ciliandry Fangiono. Forbes named Ciliandra Fangiono one of Indonesia’s richest persons, and he is the CEO of First Resources. The connection between CAA and First Resources still exists, but First Resources refused to be associated with CAA.
The report by www.chainreactionresearch.com stated that CAA is part of the top 10 companies which caused deforestation in 2020. CAA owns the palm oil factories of PT Tirta Madua and PT Borneo Ketapang Indah which supply palm oil to large companies, Avon, Frieland Campina, Johnson & Johnson, Kellogg’s, L’Oreal, etc.
In Papua, the Report on the Results of Evaluation of Oil Palm Plantation Licenses in West Papua Province (2021) revealed that three companies, PT IKSJ, PT IKS, and PT IKL, have committed license administration legality violations and operational violations, among other things, they failed to fulfill the obligations in the plantation business license (IUP), are yet to develop plasma plantations, did not report the changes in shareholding and management, carried out unauthorized forest clearing for plantation (2008), etc.
In 2021, the Regent of Sorong revoked the business license of PT Inti Kebun Lestari. The company contested the regent’s decision and sued through the Jayapura State Administrative Court up to filing an appeal with the Makassar State Administrative High Court.
The customary communities around PT IKSJ and PT IKS said that the companies had been clearing forests without engaging the communities, they provided insufficient information, and their presence has led to tensions and dissents among the community groups, which resulted in difficulties in the hunting for livelihood and other food sources.
“The companies gave a lot of empty promises without any realization, we demand that the companies stop here and refrain from expanding the plantations”, said Nelson Katumun, a resident who lives at the plantation boundary in Klawiri hamlet.