JAKARTA, SAWIT INDONESIA – The government was asked to ban activities of Mighty Earth in Indonesia for their active black campaign against palm oil products. Due to this campaign, Indonesia has lost an opportunity to increase economic growth in Eastern Indonesia region, particularly Papua.
“The campaign by the foreign NGO has been unsettling. Many organizations are not registered at the ministries, such as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia. However, they are actively operating and harming Indonesia,” said Firman Soebagyo, a member of DPR period 2019-2024.
According to him, the government must firmly confront the foreign NGO’s campaign which is harming from economic and sovereignty aspects. Therefore, the government must ban activities of NGOs that are found to have violated the law. Moreover, they have disrupted the investment climate in Indonesia that has been active in creating development in the Eastern Indonesia region.
It is recorded that a number of foreign NGOs that campaigned and harmed Indonesia are not registered in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia, namely Forest People Programme, Mighty Earth, and Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA). According to the webpage of ingo.kemlu.go.id, activities done by Mighty Earth as a foreign non-governmental organization are not registered in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia. As an information, the webpage provides information on regulation, registration process, existence, and activities of foreign NGOs in Indonesia.
Phil Aikman, The Campaign Director of Mighty Earth and FSC Expert explained that they do not have a representative office in Indonesia. While conducting investigation and campaign, he built cooperation with local NGOs in Indonesia. At the moment, Mighty Earth is focusing on monitoring the rate of deforestation occurred in Papua.
“Our headquarters is located in Washington. And I work from London. There is no representative office here (Indonesia),” he said while being interviewed in Jakarta, Monday (September 9th 2019).
At the same place, a number of indigenous people met with Phil Aikman and the representatives of Mighty Earth to ask the foreign NGO to stop their campaign. Justinus Gambenop, one of the customary rights owners in Subur District, said that they have never met any representatives from Mighty Earth in his region, this is the first time they met a representative of the foreign NGO in person. “But how can they speak of rights violation against our people,” said Justinus.
Justinus continued that the people in his village have felt social and economic impacts following Korindo’s presence. From the building of public facilities such as road access, health clinic, schools, worship places, to people empowerment through recruitment of local community to become employees.
In a separate occasion, Bhima Yudistira, an Economist from the Institute for Development of Ecnonomics and Finance (INDEF), explained that NGO network from overseas are free to enter Indonesia without reporting or registering to the Indonesian Government. Meanwhile in Malaysia, the local government provides a strict supervision on transnational NGOs wanting to operate there.
“In reality, an NGO violates a regulation for not being registered in the government bodies. The freedom has become too much and it becomes a blunder for Indonesia’s economy,” Bhima said.
If this issue is not handled immediately, the impact would become very excessive towards the trade balance and foreign investments. Bhima stated that Indonesia’s trade surplus keeps decreasing since the last few years. Indonesia is lucky to have oil palm that becomes the major contributor to non-oil exports. However, the government has not been putting serious attention towards palm oil, so the competitiveness of this comodity is difficult to develop.
“But if the government does not maintain (palm oil) commodity against interference, the fate of palm oil will be just like the spice commodities, which we only hear about the glory,” Bhima concluded.
Source : sawitindonesia.com