Oil palm company is destrying the fraternal links within communities around Muting and Bupul

[awasMIFEE note: The latest oil palm company to get a permit in Merauke, PT Internusa Jaya Sejahtera, has been moving fast, distributing money to leaders of landowner clans before the community has had the chance to reach a collective decision on whether they actually want to sell their land, therefore provoking intercommunity conflict, according to an article published on the Jerat Papua website. PT Internusa Jaya Sejahtera is believed to be a subsidiary of the Internusa Agromulia group, which has existing plantations in Kalimantan and is looking to expand in Merauke and South Sorong in West Papua.]

“I’m very disappointed at this company’s behaviour, throwing  billions of Rupiah at our clan leaders, which is provoking a cold war within our wider community in Muting”

“My village Muting is located between Elikobel, Ulilin and Muting districts. When I was little, a green carpet of forest used to keep the air cool as the sun rose from the eastern horizon over Merauke, Papua’s city of deer.”

“Nowadays, the people of Muting have had to leave this behind, as our once wide forest has had to be pawned off in what represents a deep wound for us local indigeous people. We are wrapped up in economic difficulties, trying to get an education for our kids and living lives that are far from our ideal, in this rich land of Papua. We are hoping that the provincial and local Merauke governments will take notice and look into this situation”, said Mr Yosep Mahuse when contacted by text message. Yosep Mahuse inherited the leadership of the Mahuse Kewam clan when Finsensius S. Mahuse passed away.

“The oil palm company approached us with a million sweet promises. We had to meet several times to decide how to respond. Both pro- and contra- feelings emerged, but the company was insistant. We didn’t know what we should do, and what’s more the local government seemed to just keep quiet and didn’t support us with advice. The security forces were like an steel fence, however, so we didn’t get to say very much” Imanuel Mahuse, a student in a college Jayapura, said with regret.

Imanuel continued to explain that “PT IJS had shown up appearing to be a saviour for our local economy, and our parents were taken in by the company’s offer. We were shellshocked to learn the company had already given 1.3 billion Rupiah to the clan chief as ‘tali asih’ money, or money to open the door.” According to Imanuel Mahuse, or Manu for short, this was a bad thing. “If a company acts like this, it will just mean creating conflict within our wider family in the Mahuse Kewam clan and also affect our fraternal links with the Kewamijay clan, who live in the area where PT IJS is exploring”, Manu explained.

When visited by Jerat Papua, Manu also revealed that surrently the money has been shared between several clans, and came to five million Rupiah per family member, but it also wasn’t equally divided, which was quite ironic.

I’m very sad that this has come to pass, it’s a bit of a disaster for us, but this is sure to cause divisions within our family. It seems that the sums don’t add up, but where has the money gone? Why wasn’t the money shared out after compiling data about the clans and meeting together? This is something the company will have to answer for later when their Environmental Impact Assessment is discussed in Jayapura in the near future”, he stated.

Source: Jerat Papua: http://www.jeratpapua.org/perusahan-sawit-masuk-merusak-tali-persaudaraan-orang-muting-dan-bupul/

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