The state has transferred the rights to 132 hectares of land in East Kuatai, East Kalimantan, which was illegally occupied by a local farmer to Multi Kusuma Cemerlang, a subsidiary of Jakarta-based natural rubber producer Royal Lestari Utama. (Antara Photo/Raisan Al Farisi)

State Restores Function of Illegally Occupied Land in East Kalimantan

BY :RULLY SATRIADI & NUR YASMIN

SEPTEMBER 24, 2019

Jakarta. The state has transferred the rights to 132 hectares of land in East Kuatai, East Kalimantan, which was illegally occupied by a local farmer, to a subsidiary of Jakarta-based natural rubber producer Royal Lestari Utama.

Hadi Sukrosono, head of corporate social responsibility at Multi Kusuma Cemerlang (MKC), said the decision was announced late last year, but that the East Kalimantan High Court in Samarinda extended the deadline for the farmer, identified as Sarifuddin Kabilang, to vacate the land. He reportedly used the land for a palm oil plantation.

"We gave the suspect leeway to leave voluntarily, and he did on Sept. 13. He has been cooperative so far," Hadi said on Tuesday.

The court sentenced Sarifuddin to 10 months' imprisonment and a Rp 200 million ($14,000) fine for the illegal occupation of a forest area. He was also found guilty of illegally harvesting lumber, planting 10,000 oil palms and using earthmoving equipment to clear the land.

"The legal process was a final resort after our previous negotiations failed," said Widyarsono, general manager of MKC.

He said the company was fully compliant with the law and transparent in its actions.

East Kutai Police spokesman Comr. Rezky said farmers occupying land illegally must face stiff penalties, in accordance with the law.

According to the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, it has brought more than 500 cases involving environmental crimes to court between 2015 and 2018.

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