Monday, 14 September 2009

Don’t pass the buck, prove Malaysian firms involved says Suhakam

Prove Malaysian firms involved in human rights and environmental violations, Suhakam tells Indonesian counterpart

Monday, September 14th, 2009 Malay Mail

THE Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) says it does not have the authority to interfere in matters taking place in Indonesia on claims that Malaysian oil palm plantation firms are involved in human rights and environmental violations.

Suhakam complaints and inquiry working group chairman, Datuk Khalid Ibrahim, told Malay Mail it had not received any memorandum from the Indonesian National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM).

“The matter should be addressed and investigated by Komnas HAM and it should not be passing the buck to us. We have similar issues in our own country in Sabah and Sarawak. How are we to interfere in matters happening in another country?” he asked.

Komnas HAM deputy chairman Ridha Saleh said last week violations by several Malaysian oil palm plantation
firms had been going on for some time.

But there has been no response from Suhakam, Ridha added. He also said the alleged violations in Indonesia included environmental damage from land burning, violations of the people’s land rights, forest destruction, turf-field clearing and environmental destruction from factory waste.

It was reported that Kulim (Malaysia) Bhd in Central Kalimantan, Tabung Haji Plantation Bhd in Riau and Wilmar International Ltd in West and Central Kalimantan were identified as the companies committing the violations.

However, Khalid said: “If Sukaham is to take any action, there must be evidence provided to support claims that indeed such violations were happening.

“We did not receive any memorandum from Komnas HAM. We only received a memorandum from a non-governmental organisation from Indonesia and Papua New Guinea about four months ago to advise the Malaysian companies involved.”

He added that though Suhakam could advise the Malaysian companies (if the allegations were true), the matter would first have to be investigated and the duty to carry out the investigation would be on the Indonesian authorities.