Thursday, 23 April 2009

Stop Palm Oil in Tura to save forests and orangutans



PALANGKARAYA, 22 APRIL 2009 - The catchment area of the River Katingan in Kalimantan is a pocket habitat of orangutans. PHVA 2004 and Orangutan Action Plan 2007 mentioned around 3,000 orangutans live in the area. For the people in Tura village, Pulau Malan district who lives in around the catchment area, orangutans are more important than palm oil plantations along the Katingan river.

"Orangutans are friends to us, since they can protect our forest from destruction and extinction for the people of Tura to continue getting benefit from the forest for our daily needs and the future of our children," said Daryatmo, Tura village head.

He said, coinciding with Earth Day, 22 April 2009, the people of Tura also demanded the Katingan Regent to respond to their letter rejecting palm oil plantations in their area. The companies received permits to operate in Tura village. "We demand the Katingan Regent who said he is pro-people, to take real action to respond to our letter and revoke the permit given to PT. Mitra Jaya Cemerlang! ", said Daryatmo. He added that the letter was sent to the Regent about one month ago.

Meanwhile, the director of the Centre for Orangutan Protection (COP) Hardi Baktiantoro also restated palm oil companies are the number one forest destroyer in Kalimantan. "We do not want them to destroy orangutan habitat in Pulau Malan district.

This area is home for thousands of orangutans and the livelihood of Dayak Ngaju people. Palm oil does not guarantee them a better life. While forests and orangutans can sustain the livelihood of the Dayak Ngaju people. PT. Mitra Jaya Cemerlang, a subsidiary of TSH Malaysia and Martinique Singapore should leave Tura village", said Baktiantoro.

COP also demanded the governor of Central Kalimantan, Agustin Teras Narang to pressure the Regent of Katingan, Duwel Rawing, to promptly revoke the permit granted to the company. " On Earth Day, we would like to remind the governor and the regent to care and listen to the people. Take real action for the Dayak Ngaju people and the people of Tura village by revoking the permit of PT. Mitra Jaya Cemerlang according to their demand. Remember, vox populi vox Dei, the voice of the people is the voice of God," said Baktiantoro on Earth Day.

For further information and interviews, please contact:

1. Centre for Orangutan Protection Director, Hardi Baktiantoro,

2. Centre for Orangutan Protection Campaign Manager Yon Thayrun,

3. Tura Village Head, Daryatmo,

Notes to the Editor:

Permit that should be revoked by the regent of Katingan:

1. Principal Agreement Letter to Location (Surat Persetujuan Prinsip

Arahan Lokasi) No. 503/370/Ekbang dated 6 August 2007. Katingan Regency Decree No. 117 /2008 on the location permit for palm oil plantation to PT.

Mitra Jaya Cemerlang in Samba Katung village, Samba Bakumpai, Telok, Petak Puti, Tewang Panjang, Tumbang Lahang, Central Katingan Regency and Tura village, Tumbang Tanjung, Pulau Malan district, Katingan Regency, Central Kalimantan Province.

2. Recommendation Letter from KA-ANDAL on the development of palm oil

plantation and palm oil processing plant to PT. Mitra Jaya Cemerlang No.

660.1/68/660.1/BLH-I/2009 dated 25 February 2009 released by the Environment Office of Katingan Regency in Kasongan. Katingan Regency Decree No. 55/2009 on the Agreement on the Framework to Environmental Impact Analysis

(KA-ANDAL) on the development of palm oil plantation to PT Mitra Jaya Cemerlang issued in Kasongan on 12 March 2009.