President tells minister not to issue new logging permits

EoF News / 30 November 2007

Pekanbaru (EoF News)—Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono told the Forestry Minister, Malam Sambat Kaban, and other officials not to excessively issue more logging licenses to prevent worse deforestation, media reports said. Many forestry concession holders are irresponsible including the pulpwood businessmen, he said.


At a launching of national replanting program held in Bogor of West Java, on Wednesday (28/11/2007), the President said in a bid to stop illegal logging and deforestation he would tell his subordinates such as Minister of Forestry, provincial governors and district heads, to stop issuing unwarranted logging licenses.


“From now on, I forbid Minister of Forestry and regional leaders to grant forest management licenses,” Yudhoyono said at the launching as quoted as saying by Koran Tempo daily (29/11/2007).


“Please, Minister of Forestry, don’t be unwarrantedly to issue the forest management licenses any longer,” he told the minister who also attended the ceremony, Riau Pos daily reported Thursday.


The President said that many businessmen holding forest management licenses are not responsible. “Including industrial timber plantation,” he cited. The President also called on people to fight against illegal loggers. “They have caused this country devastated, we must eradicate, we must fight,” he said as quoted by Koran Tempo as saying.


At a press conference in his residence in Bogor, Yudhoyono reiterated his statement warning the Minister of Forestry as well as district heads and mayors. “Don’t make a sale [for the logging permit].  Not because of many reasons, [the licenses] are issued easily,” he warned the subordinates, Riau Pos reported.


The president, who set up special team to verify illegal logging cases in Riau, said that forest management licenses should be designated as strictly as possible. Legal action is taken if boundary of license breached, he added.


According to data from National Police’s intelligence unit, in Indonesia there are 737 illegal logging cases that handled currently by the police. The data is recorded from January to June this year, Koran Tempo reported.


Minister Kaban at a hearing with House of Representatives on Wednesday evening told the forestry commission that the illegal logging operation in Riau conducted by the police is not coordinated with him.


He urged the police to stop the operation which “obviously alarms the survival of logging industry, reflects no certainty in law, and causes the unemployment,” as quoted by Koran Tempo as saying.


In responding to the President’s warning to the minister, Bomer Pasaribu, a parliamentarian handling forestry affairs said Kaban should abide by the order to stop issuing new logging licenses, Koran Tempo reported Friday (30/11/2007).