News Report on Class Action Against Sime Darby
Kuala Lumpur, 8 October 2015 - Sime Darby Plantation is unaware of any class action lawsuit filed by a group of Indonesian residents in Jambi, South Sumatera, against Sime Darby and several other companies for causing forest fires that led to air pollution in the region.
Sime Darby Plantation views the allegation of complicity in causing the fires seriously and would like to stress that the pioneering zero burning policy we have had since 1985 is rigorously implemented and upheld. Furthermore, Sime Darby Plantation has its own hotspot monitoring system for its operations across its planted territories, information from which is accessible to the public on our website www.simedarby.com
. We can confirm that fires detected by the satellite data were not in areas planted by the company. This information has also been verified by our ground assessment teams.
The company has three estates in South Sumatera, namely PT Bahari Gembira Ria (BGR), PT Guthrie Pecconina Indonesia (PT GPI) and PT Bina Sains Cemerlang (PT BSC). There are also local communities and smallholders and other companies occupying parts of our concession areas.
On 3 September 2015, a fire was detected about 1,700 metres away from the PT BGR boundary. It eventually spread to within 150 metres of PT BGR’s boundary. The fire was eventually put out by PT BGR employees and members of the local community.
Sime Darby Plantation holds the original Decree of Forest Release for the 14,349ha where PT BGR is located. From the 14,349ha, only 10,000ha was approved for development by the Indonesian Ministry of Finance under the Inti (nucleus estate) Plasma programme – a scheme on a 60 per cent Plasma (community) and 40 per cent Inti (company) arrangement.
The 60 per cent Plasma or 6,000ha was fully developed but out of the 4,000ha allocated for Inti, only 2,178ha was developed. The hotspots when verified by our ground assessment teams were found to be located NOT inside the areas controlled by Sime Darby Plantation, but in areas occupied by other companies.
Furthermore, it must be noted that PT BGR is not replanting its fields at this time. This means, there is no reason to clear land in PT BGR and the fires are in fact affecting productive palms and the performance of the company.
There was an isolated fire incident at PT GPI on 5 October, which is believed to be an act of arson. Reports have been lodged by the management with the police and other relevant authorities after the fire was put out.
Sime Darby Plantation works closely with all our stakeholders, especially in difficult times such as this. We advocate constructive and proactive dialogue among all stakeholders and are supporting various measures to resolve the annual haze situation.
For further information, please contact:
Ahmad Shahriman Johari
Head, External Communications
Sime Darby Berhad
Tel: +(603) 2711 0923
Mobile: +(6019) 333 8320
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