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Panin unknown in Indonesia

Panin unknown in Indonesia

I NDONESIAN environmentalists have seized on King Norodom Sihanouk's state visit

to urge him to tell the Cambodian government to "act thoughtfully" before

granting a logging contract to the Panin Group.

In an open letter to the

King, the Jakarta-based NGO "forest network" Skephi said Panin was awaiting

approval for a logging concession of 1.5 million hectares in

Cambodia.

"According to Djamaluddin Suryohadikusumo, the Indonesian

Minister of Forestry, Panin has been unknown in forestry activity in Indonesia

," the letter said.

Skephi, through coordinator Indro Ijahjono, said that

a thorough and transparent study had to be made of the records of such investing

companies.

The group was not against logging and mining, but such

activities had to be done sustainably and without damaging the environment, it

said.

Nor was the group against Cambodian efforts to rebuild itself. "We

are expressing this because our own country, once harboring the second largest

forest area in the world after Brazil, has only recently been able to learn from

its disasterous forestry in the past," Ijahjono wrote.

The group stated

that only one in five logging companies in Indonesia pursued their activities in

accordance with strict governmental forestry rules.

It also said that the

Indonesian Ministry of Forstry recently appealed to all Indonesian companies not

to invest in countries - like Cambodia - that had no professional or established

record in sustainable forestry.

"Irresponsible forestry practices will

not only destroy 'the lungs of the world' as stated repeatedly by our head of

state President Suharto, but could also smear the good intentions pursued by our

country, as now in the case of Surinam.

"It is our belief that logging

investment in your country could be workable, provided that the investment and

its further activity be directed according to the principles of sustainability

and be fully transparent.

"... it is our intention, with the cooperation

of the Indonesian Forestry Ministry, to provide your government with information

in these aspects."

A copy of the letter was also sent to Co-Prime

Ministers Prince Norodom Ranariddh and Hun Sen.

 

Following on from the story in the Phnom Penh Post of August 25, Agriculture

and Forestry MInister Tao Seng Huor says that the contract with the Panin Group

is not yet finalized, but is under discussion.

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