GLOBE JOURNAL: Former Aceh Governor’s Story about the Permit in Tripa

 Unofficial translation by SOCP

 

Firman Hidayat | The Globe Journal

Wednesday, July 18, 2012 17:30 WIB

Banda Aceh – After WALHI Aceh massively exposed the controversial ‘in principle’ permit, Irwandi Yusuf finally admitted that he regretted issuing it and wants to revoke it. There was pressure on me to issue the ‘in principle’ permit, there was support for it from several people and agencies.

“I regret signing the permit for PT. Kalista Alam,” said the former Governor of Aceh, Irwandi Yusuf.

Irwandi Yusuf’s remorse suggests he was forced to issue the in principle permit. “The permit I issued was no different from one issued by the Regent of Nagan Raya, and there was no influence at all,” said Irwandi Yusuf.

The problem of the permit for PT. Kalista Alam is very unfortunate. Irwandi himself also admitted that he had previously rejected the company’s request many times. “I ‘kicked it aside’ almost for two years, until evaluations eventually appeared from the provincial Forestry Office regarding the Leuser Ecosystem issue and a letter from the Police stating that the company had no legal problems,” said Irwandi convincingly.

“It could actually have been a problem if I had just ignored these letters. I could have been sued in the Administrative Court, since all requirements for the permit appeared to be fulfilled,” he continued.

Still, Irwandi did not simply rely on the supporting recommendations of these others, so he consulted with Aceh Green, and it appeared the Tripa Peat Swamp was not included in the moratorium map issued by President SBY. 

Then there was an assessment or analysis by the Forestry Office regarding the  Leuser Ecosystem, identifying that the utilisation of the area of the Leuser Ecosystem did not preclude this, if there was already an existing permit. “Tripa Peat Swamp is within the Leuser Ecosystem, but there is an exception that already existing permits (i.e. when the Ecosystem was established) must be respected, and what’s more, the official map of the Leuser Ecosystem was only newly made,” said Irwandi Yusuf.

“I only issued an “in principle” permit, with the Regent of Nagan Raya, whilst the concession permit itself comes from the Central Government, which the company itself takes care of,” said Irwandi during his press conference at Rumoh Aceh on Wednesday (18/07) lunchtime.

“I regret that I signed it, but since the Police said there was no problem, and as the Head of the District Parliament in Nagan Raya , Samsuardi (also known as Juragan), and a Chinese person came to see me, and they (Juragan and the Chinese person) said that they wanted to accommodate 30% plasma with the plantation, since, according to them, many community members from Nagan Raya are still unemployed, I then signed the permit,” stressed Irwandi Yusuf.

Actually, the Tripa problem lies with the company, PT Kallista Alam. According to the former Governor of Aceh, they still do not have a full concession permit, but the company has already started work. “If they don’t yet have the concession permit and they are already working that is clearly wrong,” he repeated.

“I would really like to revoke that permit letter,” said Irwandi Yusuf, closing the interview.

Revoke All Permits

The Coalition Team to Save the Tripa Swamps (TKPRT) urged the current Governor of Aceh, Zaini Abdullah, to send a recommendation to related Ministries regarding the withdrawal of all concession permits in the Tripa Peat Swamp, Nagan Raya District.

TKPRT’s spokesperson, Irsadi is waiting to see if Aceh’s Governor is brave enough to apply an immediate moratorium on all activities by concessions in the Tripa Peat Swamp and then revoke all permits within Tripa.

Irsadi has also expressed sincere appreciation to the UKP4 (REDD+ Task Force) in Jakarta, who have already written to the Governor of Aceh to revoke the permits of two of the problem companies, namely PT. Kallista Alam and PT. Surya Panen Subur-2.

“It would be far better to cancel all the concession permits in the Tripa Peat Swamps,” emphasized Irsadi. [003]

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About iansingletonsocp

Orangutan conservationist, former zookeeper and field researcher.

4 responses to “GLOBE JOURNAL: Former Aceh Governor’s Story about the Permit in Tripa”

  1. Judy says :

    Is this good news?Yes but only the information is used in the prosecution case of PT Kalista Alam & the other palm oil companies operating illegally in Tripa.If what Irwandi Yusuf is true(what has he got to gain by lying?)Then it is apparent that there must be a guilty verdict.But other issues are highlighted in what the former governor has claimed-evaluations from provincial Forestry office & a letter from the ‘police’ stating no legal problems with the palm oil co?!!How can this be true??Also PT KA only have an ‘in principle’ permit so they are operating illegally as there is no concession permit!At the very least work has to be stopped immediately-why are fires still burning?Yusuf regrets signing permit,he says it is wrong so the current Gov of Aceh Zaini Abdullah must act by insisting that ALL concession permits are immediately withdrawn.The evidence is there,the former governor of Aceh was pressured into issuing ‘in principal’ permit.I respect the fact that he has admitted he was at fault but he must join in the fight,he knows the influential individuals that can end this so he must step up & push forward for all Permits to be revoked and the corruption on every side must be stamped out.The Palm oil companies are killing the forests,killing the wildlife & killing peoples faith in government.They must be stopped,they are a virus-we must find a cure……..QUICKLY :-[

    • iansingletonsocp says :

      Wholeheartedly agree Judy. But the Indonesian legal system is a world unto its own…..only pressure will get it to function properly, NOT what is right or wrong…sadly!

      • Judy says :

        Then we must put pressure on the government-but how do we do it?Are the petitions & the demands from people like you, actually working?Everything you do I,and many others are in awe of-your dedication to the cause,the relentless push towards saving the beautiful Orangutans & their natural habitat and the dogged determination to get things done is admirable,but if we cannot defeat the lawlessness & corruption what else is there to do?I truly believe that one day,Indonesia will finally re-address the Palm oil situation and realise that their beautiful country has so much more to offer the world.Maybe I am dreaming but one day all your hard work will have paid off.Brazil has a far more eco friendly way of producing Palm oil that does not involve desecrating Rainforests so if the suppliers really want to help save Borneo & Sumatra then they must push for ways forward to do so.Global publicity must be an option-I’m sure Indonesia would shift seats if they knew the World was watching?

      • iansingletonsocp says :

        Yes all the pressure is achieving something. Without it we would never have got his far…..the global publicity is the primary reason that the central govt (Ministry of Environment and National Police) are now taking the Tripa issue seriously. Its a very very long way to go yet, and time is of the essence, but massive public pressure is one of the most effective weapons….without a shadow of a doubt!

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