TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - A number of organizations namely Human Rights Working Groups (HRWG), the Public Research and Advocacy Institution (ELSAM), and Auriga Foundation consider that the Bill on palm oil is yet necessary. They argue that there is no new norm offered by the Draft Bill.
“The existence of the Draft Bill regarding palm oil could worsen the regulation since the draft bill legalizes violating acts in peat areas,” said the Advocacy Deputy Director of ELSAM, Andi Muttaqien, on Sunday, February 5, 2017.
According to Andi, the Bill legalizes the palm oil plantation that is currently considered illegal. It is written in article 23 of the Draft Bill. The article regulates the rights of cultivating palm oil on a land after acquiring a business permit. The plot of land that is referred to is mineral land and/or peatland.
“It’s clearly being used as an instrument to [legalize] or provide an opportunity for companies to operate on a peatland,” Andi said.
A researcher from Auriga, Syahrul Fitra, claimed that the draft bill also regulates the protection of peatlands in article 49. However, the article is still considered abstract and can potentially contradict the peatlands moratorium policy that is mentioned in Government Regulation No. 57/2016 on the Protection and Management of Peatlands Ecosystem.
“The government regulation states that every person is banned from clearing a new land until the zoning protection functions and cultural functions are set at peatlands,” Syahrul said.
Andi argues that 70 percent of the existing laws on palm oil are already regulated in other legislations. “It’s in P3H Law, Law on Plantation, and so on,” he said.
He also says that this particular Draft Bill does ignore the farmer’s welfare since the only article that regulates it is Article 29. “But it still needs to be included in government regulation. So the operations will depend on when the government regulation is formed,” he said.