In a discussion forum of the House of Representatives Commission VI, Monday, October 9 2017, the Head of the Forest and Environment Saving Committee or Komite Penyelamatan Hutan dan Lingkungan Hidup (KPHLH), Bambang Adji assessed Permen LHK (Regulation of the Minister of Environment and Forestry) No. P.39 of 2017 concerning Social Forestry in the Working Area of Perum Perhutani (Public Company of Indonesian State Forest Companies).
There are three main assessments from him in the discussion forum.
First, Permen LHK No. P.39 of 2017 has the potential to cause forest destruction in Java, and generally in Indonesia. Because of this, KPHLH is trying to save the forest from the threat of a government regulation, and rejects the LHK Ministerial Regulation.
This assessment is highly manipulative. It is considered as negative discourse that the state forest land that will be utilized by the poor (existing) is virgin forest or more than 50 percent stands. In fact, the condition for land to be utilized by the poor is classified as bare or stands of only 10 percent, and is neglected by Perhutani for at least 5 years. It is estimated that about 50 percent of the country’s land in the Java Island Perhutani working area is already deforested and not being utilized. Poor people who receive utilization permits are required to plant a certain percentage of wood on the deforested land. This means that the poor people will increase the area of stands and timber plants. Then, how do the poor people cause forest destruction?
If the General Chairperson of the KPHLH reads the LHK P.39 Ministerial Regulation again, the poor will find forms of forest use not only about timber, but also about water, water energy, tourism etc. The deforestation of the state forest in Java is not due to the behavior of the poor, but businessmen and rent-seeking rulers that have been going on since the New Order era and also SBY. Basically, the assessment of the poor using state forest land to improve family welfare will result in forest destruction, discriminatory and feudal assessments of the poor.
Second, the Social Forestry Forest Utilization Permit or Izin Pemanfaatan Hutan Perhutanan Sosial (IPHPS) in Permen LHK P.39 endangers forest safety. For Bambang, in saving the forest, his spirit must be in the form of “cooperation”, not in the form of a permit to enter the forest area.
The idea of an entry permit not having a spirit of cooperation is very wrong. The poor people around and inside the state forest cannot be equated with the middle and upper class people who live in urban areas, at least the capital of the sub-district, such as the Head of the KPHLH mass organization. Poor people cannot be equal to middle and upper people. The government wants to help the poor so they are not poor. Of course the government’s attitude must be coaching, empowerment, and technical, financial and administrative assistance. The government must go deeper than the cooperative version of the relationship between the exploitative interests of the upper middle class over state forest land that has been happening so far. The poor have continued to be marginalized by Bambang’s version of the work of funds concept. From the Dutch era to Bambang’s version of the spirit of cooperation, the poor people living around the state forest in Java have not changed, they remain poor. The spirit of cooperation is only enjoyed by groups of entrepreneurs and rent-seeking rulers. Is looking for justification reasons to reject the Permen LHK P.39 by using the concept of the spirit of cooperation. If the government sided with the poor, it would not have a spirit of cooperation. Very wrong thinking.
Third, Permen LHK P.39 as an effort to weaken Perum Perhutani, will eventually lead to the dissolution of the State Owned Enterprise (BUMN).
This assessment also seems far-fetched. The government is accused of making Perum Perhutani disband. The basic thinking and logic of the KPHLH Ketum is very baseless, intellectually poor. The government is considered to be working without regulation and rationality. Permen LHK P.39 actually strengthens and provides benefits for Perhutani. Why?
Because 30 percent of the results of the efforts of the poor in utilizing the forest are handed over to Perhutani. In fact, seed, technical, administrative, etc. assistance comes from the government, universities, NGOs and banks or financial institutions. The state is here to help the poor people, not only Perhutani as it has been.
The LHK Regulation will not weaken Perhutani. What is weakened due to the side negative impact of this Permen LHK, is not on Perhutani, but the middle class rent-seeking group that has been exploiting state forest land around and within Perhutani’s working areas. They are the middle class, live in urban areas, not farmers, let alone the poor. In general, the opponents of the Permen LHK P.39 are not the people or poor farmers who are the targets of this Permen. Rente groups on behalf of NGOs, forest village people, and forest and environmental protection, etc. continuously rejects Permen LHK P.39. In fact, the poor farmer groups have a heavy support.
The mere negative imagination of this group of renters must be countered by the objective reality of their behavior so far in the use of state forest land. If necessary, the government publishes state forest land which they have used illegally in Java. For example, a regent uses acres of state forest land as a private coffee plantation. These lands still belong to the state, but are illegally controlled by these rentier groups.
The government must fight against these rentier groups even if they use legal channels in the Supreme Court. Their economic motive must be opposed by the Government with alternative motives and ideals.
(NSEAS Senior Community Development Researcher)