Sime Darby company’s operations suspended due to illegal practices 

(foresthints.news) - A ground inspection conducted by the Indonesian Ministry of the Environment and Forestry has found that PT ISLM, a Sime Darby company, has been carrying out illegal forest clearance outside of its rubber plantation concession operating in Belitung island off the coast of Sumatra.

Due to these illegal practices committed by the Malaysian conglomerate’s company, it has had all its ground-level operations suspended by the ministry.

“Criminal law enforcement action has been taken against the illegal forest clearance perpetrated by PT ISLM,” the Ministry’s Law Enforcement Director General, Rasio “Roy” Ridho Sani, explained in a written statement received by foresthints.news (Jul 29).

The director general (right) accompanied by Rosa Vivien, the Ministry's Director of Supervision and Administrative Sanctions (left), went immediately to the site to seal off the Sime Darby company's operations.

Roy confirmed that given the complete shutdown of its operations, the Sime Darby company may not undertake any new rubber planting, and is only allowed to maintain its existing rubber plantation.

“The actions of PT ISLM (the Sime Darby company) constitute a serious legal violation because illegal (forest) clearance outside of its concession is clearly not aligned with the rubber development permit it received in 2012,” the director general asserted.

The following photos show the situation when the ministry performed its ground investigation at the Sime Darby company’s rubber concession.

A cause of flooding

The Ministry’s Law Enforcement Director General also indicated how the Sime Darby company's operations were one of the sources of floods that recently inundated hundreds of community homes in the district of Gantung and other areas of East Belitung regency.

Roy elaborated on this, pointing out that the company had constructed a road corridor along the riparian zones of the Balok, Jerung and Raya rivers.

“When I was at the concession site, a number of community groups voiced complaints about the operations of PT ISLM,” he added.

The director general emphasized that Illegal forest clearance, including the operations of the Sime Darby company which have contributed to flooding in the area, is an environmental and forestry crime which cannot be allowed to happen.

“We cannot permit such environmental and forestry crimes to be committed by companies, including the Sime Darby company, because the impact of these operations clearly causes misery for local communities,” Roy cautioned.

Sime Darby’s reaction

With respect to the suspension of all the operations of the Sime Darby company concerned, foresthints.news asked for Sime Darby’s view on the matter by email (Jul 31).

A Sime Darby spokesperson got back to foresthints.news requesting the relevant press release issued by the ministry.

The company spokesperson was subsequently provided with the press release along with a deadline for the company to comment on the ministry’s law enforcement action, but failed to respond by the deadline given.