In contradiction of the denial issued by Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) stating that PT BMH is not a subsidiary of APP or the Sinarmas Forestry group, as was reported by Mongabay, legal documents officially submitted by PT BMH to the Environment and Forestry Ministry show that the company is indeed a subsidiary of the Sinarmas group. In light of this, foresthints.news sent an email to APP and Sinarmas Forestry asking whether they would be willing to respond, confirming the veracity or lack thereof of the legal documents, if the documents in question, which were in the possession of foresthints.news, were emailed to them. However, by time of the deadline provided foresthints.news had yet to receive any response from APP or the Sinarmas Forestry group.
In these official legal documents, PT BMH declares that it is part of and incorporated with the Sinarmas group. What’s more, PT BMH also writes that it is one of several subsidiaries of the Sinarmas group.
In one of the legal documents, PT BMH itself writes that it, along with several other subsidiaries of the Sinarmas group, has successfully developed pulpwood plantations in peatlands. PT BMH even goes on to claim that it has harnessed advanced technology for managing pulpwood plantations in peatlands.
PT BMH, more specifically, describes itself as a company which forms part of the Sinarmas group in the Palembang region, together with PT BAP and PT SBAWI. The legal documents even state that these companies are coordinated by the Forestry Operational Division Head.
The matter extends beyond just PT BMH. In a legal document from PT BAP, whose concession adjoins that of PT BMH in the Ogan Komering Ilir (OKI) regency of South Sumatra province, the company writes that it supplies pulpwood plantation fiber to pulp and paper mills belonging to the Sinarmas group, which at the same time serves as its parent company.
In line with the legal documents of PT BMH and PT BAP, PT SBAWI also acknowledges that it is in the same group as the two other companies. PT SBAWI’s concession is also located next to those of PT BAP and PT BMH.
The legal documents of these three companies are mostly made up of operational plans that they have submitted to the Environment and Forestry Ministry. The Minister of the Environment and Forestry has issued a decree to authorize operational plans that are formally proposed by pulpwood companies, such as that of PT BMH.
It seems rather strange in legal sense that, after these companies have admitted to being subsidiaries of the Sinarmas group – as stated by the companies themselves in the official legal documents – and after having their operational plans approved by the minister, APP made a public denial of these legal facts.
PT BMH and PT SBAWI previously had their permits suspended by the Environment and Forestry Minister due to the massive peat fires that occurred in their concessions last year. PT BAP also experienced huge peat fires in its concession.
One of the main factors taken into consideration by the minister in suspending the permits of these companies, in particular those of PT BMH and PT SBAWI, was that the peat fires in their pulpwood concessions caused serious air pollution in the form of haze which led to widespread suffering by the public in affected areas.
The pulpwood concessions of the three companies are situated in a very broad expanse of peatland, totaling more than 580,000 hectares – about eight times the size of Singapore. There are also significant peat domes found in the three concessions.
Last year, there was a high concentration of peat fires in this broad expanse of peatland, and it is thus not surprising that OKI regency was designated by President Joko Widodo as a priority regency for peat restoration.