Law on Plantation Insincerely Recognizes Indigenous People

ELSAM Jakarta – On May 19, 2015 in Ibis Hotel Thamrin, a discussion of legal annotation on Law No. 39/2014 on Plantations was held. The discussion involved Institute of Policy Research and Advocacy (ELSAM), PILNET, AMAN, SPKS, IGJ, KPA, SPP, Sawit Watch (Palm Oil Watch), WALHI, Auriga, PPMAN, TUK Indonesia.

This legal annotation was conducted to see the whole content of Law on Plantation and to provide critical records. M. Nur Solikhin, Research Director of PSHK, attended the said discussion as a facilitator.

In this recent Law on Plantation, there are two additional goals which were not available in previous Act, i.e, protection to entrepreneurs and society and utilization of plantation.

In technical terms, the achievement strategy of Law on Plantation has mandated 32 delegated materials, namely, 21 materials to Government Regulation and 11 materials to Ministerial Decree. The formulation needs to be escorted, considering the technical rules would guide officers at the executive level.

The discussion also revealed that Art. 12 regulating Land Rights only discusses or targets to an agreement to hand over the land of indigenous and tribal communities to entrepreneurs. The explanation about the rejection of indigenous people towards such agreement is not available in the said Article.

In addition, the term remuneration as specified on Law on Plantation also means that it is not based on equal negotiation between applicant (entrepreneur) and indigenous people. Sematically, remuneration also means wages paid when someone is doing a job. Art. 12 of Law on Plantation clearly demonstrates how this Act is insincere in giving recognition to indigenous people.

Law No. 39/2014 on Plantation was formulated considering that Law No. 18/2004 had not been able to provide optimal results. The issuance of Law No. 39/2014 aims at establishing people welfare through plantation sector which has great potential in developing national economy to further realize people’s prosperity in Indonesia. Awareness towards interest of people’s prosperity is reflected in consideration point of the said Law.

However, the substance of the said regulation itself has several problems, i.e., the chaotic permission of land acquisition for plantation, reintroduction of the articles potentially criminalising the communities nearby, regulation which solely focuses on large-scale industrial plantation, and lack of arrangement with regard to the empowerment of society’s plantation.