Friday, 11 April 2008

Indonesian President Asks for Diplomats to Fight Illegal Logging

Indonesian President Asks for Diplomats to Fight Illegal Logging

Source: Tempo Interactive - April 3, 2008Jakarta

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono asks the ambassador, general consul, and the consul, to continue eradicating illegal logging. “Keep doing it and working together as intense as possible to stop illegal logging,” said Yudhoyono at his speech with Indonesian diplomats at his office in Jakarta yesterday.

The President emphasizes that illegal logging causes state losses. Illegal logging, he said, has reduced the state revenue. Some of the illegal logging are used for a furniture business. “The furniture is sold at a high price,” he said. Indonesian diplomats are asked to watch the illegal logging transactions. “I stress it again, we have been taken advantage of many times. Our wood is stolen. It damages our environment, causes flood and land slide disasters. It kills our people's properties and lives,” said the President. “I really want us to eradicate it .”

According to President Yudhoyono, the perpetrators work together with neighboring countries. “There is an international network for it,” he said. However, there are still legal importers. It is difficult to identify the illegal logging because it is not a matter for importers when obtaining the wood.

They consider all wood legal when it comes to the international area. According to the World Bank Data for 1985-1997, Indonesias's forests are reduced to 1.5 million hectares every year and there are only 20 million hectares left for productive forests. Four years ago, Greenpeace research said 3.8 million hectares of Indonesian forests were damaged every year.

Most of the damage was caused by illegal logging. Indonesia brought Adelin Lis in Mandailing Natal, North Sumatera to the court. Adelin then was let go for an unproven case. Then finance manager of PT Keang Nam Development Indonesia, was summoned for 10 years imprisoned and Rp one billion penalty.

On 14 March, the police revealed illegal logging in Ketapang, West Kalimantan. Seventeen people were suspected, four of them brokers. The police confiscated 12 thousands meters of logs of Meranti, Bengkirai, and Kruing. “The logs were transferred via the Pawan river to Ketapang island, then taken to Kuching, Malaysia,” said Brigadier General Hadiatmoko, Director for Criminal Action.

The Indonesian police confiscated 19 boats carrying logs. Hadiatmoko said they have engaged in illegal logging since three years ago and caused Rp 36 trillion of financial losses. The police are still hunting for six more brokers.The police said that they have been handling the illegal logging. “The investigation is slow because the police prevent the case from being unfinished. “It is not easy,” said Inspector General Abubakar Nataprawira, head of the Public Relations division. FANNY FEBIANA Desy Pakpahan PURWANTO