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Business Permit Conflict of PT MAS: RSPO Might Intentionally Slowed Down Decision Making

foto by Rafi Brata Alfanu/Sawitfest 2021 - oil palm plantation ilustration
Business Permit Conflict of PT MAS: RSPO Might Intentionally Slowed Down Decision Making

IndoSAWIT, JAKARTA – In the context of land mastery, business permit of PT Mitra Austral Sejahtera (PT MAS) has been overlapping with the villagers’ areas, including public facilities, such as, the village office, schools, religious places, and villagers’ housings.

Salfius Seko, indigenous law expert of Universitas Tanjungpura said that though business permit was published, the rights of people’s data would not vanish at all. This is the same with Chapter 28 Agrarian Laws or Undang-Undang Pokok Agraria (UUPA). It is very crucial that the company and villagers should come to a conclusion to free (villagers’) area in the company’s business permit. If the agreement mentioned that the villagers still have their data rights on their areas though the areas are in business permit, the agreement would be the legal that the villagers still have their rights on the areas.

Salfius Seko also told that the company has been mistaken to interpret ‘Derasa’ concept, as the evidence of land handover from the people to the company. He thought, ‘Derasa’ in the context of the Dayak Hibun is not the handover process on the area rights from the villagers to the company. Handover of area rights in the context of the Dayak Hibun could happen through some mechanism, such as, trade, inheritance, new planting, substitutions, and administration. ‘Derasa’ is the cultural activity that is commonly named as ‘pradat’. That is why there is no area rights – handover from the people to the company in the context of ‘Derasa’.

But apart from the argument, Abdul Haris, a campaigner of TuK Indonesia criticized that Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) as palm oil organization is not transparently and accountably solve the case in PT MAS. “What RSPO decided to deny the 11 year - complaint process, is a real sample from the weakness in RSPO’s decision making,” he recently said, as in the official statement to InfoSAWIT.

The crucial points that RSPO broke were Complaint and Appeal Procedures of RSPO 2018 which should become the guidelines in decision making. What RSPO decided in the case, seemed not the same with the regulation. Besides, RSPO did not conduct complete analysis to evidences and inputs from the parties that involved in, including the experts’ opinions that petitioners did.

The experts’ opinions were not taken into consideration by RSPO. This raised assumption that RSPO intentionally slowed down decision making process which in the end, PT MAS has not been the subsidiary of Sime Darby Group.

By considering this situation, the groups that involved in this case proposed to Appeal Panel (of RSPO) to re-investigate the case to cancel the decision of panel of complaint towards PT MAS which was published on 10 August 2023.

It needs to sentence that Sime Darby as the main company of PT MAS, did not obey RSPO principles and criteria and should revoke its membership from RSPO.

If point 1 and 2 are not qualified, RSPO should review its relevance as the organization to get conflict solution that involved its member with the people that got losses. (T2)