This story excerpt was translated from bahasa Indonesia. To read the original story in full, visit Jaring. You may also view the original story on the Rainforest Journalism Fund website here. Our website is available in English, Spanish, bahasa Indonesia, French, and Portuguese.
Kuala Lumpur Kepong Berhad's (KLK) subsidiaries PT Steelindo Wahana Perkasa and PT Parit Sembada have refused to be called encroachers of protected forest land. This is because in the previous land use rights (HGU), the company was given permission to manage 14,000 hectares. However, when extending the HGU, which was set to expire in 2020, the total area under the permit has been reduced by around 500 hectares because it is indicated to be in the forest area.
On December 24, 2022, Jaring.id, together with Katadata and Malaysiakini, met company spokesman Ikhsan Nurhadi in East Belitung. "The fact is that it is not us who entered the forest area, but the forest area shifted to our HGU," he said in an interview that lasted approximately 1.5 hours. Here are excerpts of the interview:
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How did the process of applying for the HGU extension begin?
We extended it (the permit) around 2018. It was processed three years before the HGU (permit) period ends, on December 31, 2020. We went through the process. Starting from land measurement and now we are at the final stage (of permit extension) at the ministry. All the requested requirements have been completed. Now the documents are with the ministry.
What is the size of the proposed HGU?
There are two companies that have extended their HGU. PT Parit Sembada (PS) and PT Steelindo Wahana Perkasa (SWP). PS has 3990.04 hectares and SWP has 14,064 hectares.
What about plantations that are allegedly in forest areas?
Regarding overlapping forest areas in the company's HGU. The history is this, in the past if it entered the forest area, then there was no HGU. In fact, we did not enter the forest area, but the forest area shifted to our HGU. The decree on the forest area changed several times. There is an overlap because there is a shift in the forest area.