14 Oct 2013

Maluku Provincial Parliament to fight local government on sugar cane plantation

9:43 am on 14 October 2013

A member of the Provincial Parliament in Indonesia's Maluku province says she will fight the local government's plan to allow 500,000 hectares of forest to be harvested in Aru Islands.

The local government has granted permits to Jakarta-based PT Menara Group, allowing it to set up a sugar plantation over 70 percent of forest in six of the islands.

The vice-chair of the Maluku Provincial Parliament, Mercy Barends, says the deal was made without the indigenous peoples' permission or knowledge, and she suspects the company is coming in to take their wood, oil and gas.

She says the provincial parliament has the ability to legislate against the local government's plan, so she is trying to garner support from other members.

She says she will take the fight against the local government and the company to a national level if need be.

"We fight until the last blood in our bodies, with standing position, for this to stop the PT Menara Group operation in Aru Islands. All the data, and the people in the village and the community - we will stand to the KPK, our corruption commission at the national level."

The vice-chair of the Maluku Provincial Parliament, Mercy Barends.