Stay out of Papua New Guinea, KL Kepong told
Sahabat Alam Malaysia and Friends of the Orangutans held a protest outside the Kuala Lumpur Kepong head office in Ipoh demanding that KLK withdraw from Lot 5 in Collingwood Bay, Papua New Guinea and cease all its oil palm activities there.
The protest was made on behalf of the people of Collingwood Bay who claim that despite a court order cancelling the leases of KLK, the company continued to operate in the area with the intention to develop Lot 5.
Despite KLK claiming that Lot 5 was state land, landowner Lester Seri totally disagreed saying, “Lot 5 is within Maisin customary lands and holds primary forest and small patches of ‘kunai grass’ that the communities annually use for game hunting.”
Seri also said 80% of Lot 5 was primary forest and High Carbon Stock (HCS) forest.
Saying that communities in Collingwood Bay depended on the land as a source of income, Seri added, “there is no change, the Collingwood communities do not want oil palm and KLK in Collingwood Bay.”
KLK Bhd is among the largest plantation companies in Malaysia with approximately 250,000 ha of land bank in Malaysia and Indonesia.
In December 2012, the company along with Batu Kawan Bhd collectively acquired 69% of shares in Collingwood Plantation Pte in Singapore from a Malaysian national living in Papua New Guinea.
However on May 20, 2014, a High Court there declared two large land development leases (Lots 113C and 143C) totalling 38,350 ha belonging to KLK Bhd as null and void.
The court also ordered the state to cancel the Special Agriculture and Business Leases owned by KLK after a civil lawsuit was brought against the company by customary landowners who objected to their land being developed into oil palm plantations.
However despite the court-ordered cancellation, KLK has refused to cease its activities.