Greenpeace Urge KPK to investigate Forestry Ministry. Again!

Feature story - April 30, 2009
Greenpeace urged the KPK (Corruption Eradication Commission) to investigate the re-issuance of permits to 14 companies for clearing more than 100.000 hectares of forest by the Forestry Ministry.

Greenpeace activists wearing mask of (left to right) Bupati Palalawan; Riau Governor Rusli Zainal; Minister of Forest MS Kaban; Vice President Jusuf Kalla and President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyon; protest this morning outside KPK (Corruption Eradication Committee), urging KPK to investigate Kaban who issued permission for 14 corporations to cut more than 100,000 acres of forests in Riau.

"Many of these 14 companies were under investigation for illegal logging in 2007. While one of the Bupatis who aided and abetted the illegal operations is in jail, the investigation against the companies was mysteriously stopped by police in December last year. Now, in an election year, these same companies have been given approval for further logging by Forestry Minister MS Kaban and against the wishes of the regional government. " said Zulfahmi, Greenpeace Southeast Asia Forest Campaigner.

In a street theatre protest at the KPK's Jakarta HQ this morning, Greenpeace role-played MS Kaban's surrender with an activist wearing an MS Kaban mask. Besides Kaban, Greenpeace also 'surrendered' Governor of Riau, Rusli Zainal. Meanwhile activists posing as the 'President' and 'Vice President' stood by and watched.

According to reports, Minister Kaban issued the Rencana Kerja Tahunan (RKT - yearly work plan) last week giving 14 companies, predominantly owned by APP (Sinar Mas group) and April, permission to cut 100.000 hectares of forest for the pulp and paper industry.

"The forests in Riau are under enormous pressure from the palm and pulp and paper industries and this approval of the RKT by Kaban is a death toll for a large proportion of the last remaining forest. Considering most of these forests are in carbon-rich peatland, this approval will also increase Indonesia's greenhouse emissions from deforestation," Zulfahmi added.

The granting of the cutting permits contravenes President Yudhoyono's international commitment at the 2008 G8 meeting in Japan, to cut Indonesia's greenhouse emissions from deforestation by 50 percent in 2009 and 75 percent\ in 2012.

"SBY's commitment at the G8, and his repeated statements on forest protection and green house gas reduction targets in international for a, have become a bit of a joke since he has allowed his government to actively increase Indonesia's emissions through their policies on peatland and allowing further logging and forest conversion. Stop watching and start acting Mr. President. Reduce emissions and implement a moratorium prior to attending the important climate meeting in Copenhagen in December this year," urged Bustar Maitar, Greenpeace Southeast Asia Forest Campaigner.

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