4 Jul 2005

Papua Presidium council disagrees with Vice-Presidential call for Foreign investor favouritism

7:16 pm on 4 July 2005

The secretary of the Papua Presidium council says an order for provincial administrations to favour foreign investors in local disputes is an attempt to make indigenous landowners surrender their rights.

Willy Mandowen says the Presidium disagrees with Indonesia vice-president Jusuf Kalla's call for the protection of foreign investors' interests in disputes, including those related to land ownership.

The Jakarta Post reports that Mr Kalla believes local government should give a guarantee to foreign investors in areas like Papua where locals often claim land used for foreign operations is ancestral property not to be used for commercial means.

But Mr Mandowen says land matters should always be discussed first with the traditional owners.

"Otherwise it's a repressing policy, other than consulting with the owners of the land, that the government is involved in such a policy to force the society, the owners of the land, to surrender their land. Although there are excuses of ways of compensation."

The secretary of the Papua Presidium council, Willy Mandowen.