Jakarta. The Jakarta State Administrative Court, or PTUN Jakarta, on Thursday (21/12) rejected a plea submitted by Riau Andalan Pulp and Paper, or RAPP, requesting the court revoke a reprimand letter issued by the Ministry of Environment and Forestry in October, which invalidated the company’s current 10-year business plan.
RAPP previously had a spat with the ministry after it rejected the company's business plan for a failure to comply with the government's new peatland protection framework, as detailed in Ministerial Decree No. 17 of 2017. That decree provides technical detail related to the implementation of Government Regulation No. 57 of 2016.
RAPP filed the plea to PTUN Jakarta on Nov. 16. It argued that one of the articles in Government Regulation No. 71 of 2014 states that business permits issued before the regulation became effective will remain valid until the company's license expires.
"The applicant's plea cannot be accepted as it does not meet the formal requirements," presiding judge Oenoen Pratiwi said in court on Thursday.
Oenoen said that according to one of the articles in a 1986 Law on the State Administrative Court, the company should have taken legal action by filing a lawsuit instead of submitting a plea.
Hamdan Zoelva, RAPP's legal representative, said the company will propose a judicial review to the Supreme Court after the court's decision.
"We respect that decision, but we will file a judicial review on that decision," Hamdan, who is a former constitutional court chief justice, told reporters after the court hearing.
Hamdan added that he will also file a lawsuit against the ministry’s reprimand letter to the State Administrative Court immediately.
Bambang Hendroyono, the secretary general at the ministry, said that RAPP must obey the new government regulations by revising its business plan.
"There is no reason anymore to disobey government rules to revise the business plan. We have advised the company since May, but it [RAPP] did not follow the ministry’s directions," Bambang said after the hearing.
Bambang added that the ministry is still waiting for the completion of the company’s business plan revision as soon as possible.
"We have been waiting [for RAPP to comply with the request] within 14 working days since our last letter on Dec. 8."
RAPP — the operational unit of global pulp and paper industry leader Asia Pacific Resources International — said in a statement that the company also respects the court's decision.
The pulp and paper company also said it will revise its business plan to comply with the new regulations.
"With the revised business plan, the impact on our business activities will be considerable. However, we will continue to comply with directives from the Ministry of Environment and Forestry," RAPP said in a statement received by the Jakarta Globe on Thursday.
The company said it will invest significantly in the conservation and restoration of peatlands in support of government efforts in managing sustainable development and reducing the impacts of climate change.
"Our current focus is on disseminating the results of the court’s ruling on operational management and ensuring the well-being of employees and the company’s contractors which are affected by today's court ruling," RAPP said in the statement.