Once More, Residents of Bangkal Stage a Protest and Set Fire to PT HMBP Office in Seruyan

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PALMOILMAGAZINE, SERUYAN – A protest involving thousands of Bangkal villagers from the Subdistrict of Seruyan Raya, in the District of Seruyan, Central Kalimantan Province, culminated in chaos as they set fire to the office of the palm oil plantation company, PT. Haparan Masawit Bangun Persada I (PT HMBP).

This demonstration spanned several days, commencing on September 16, 2023. Many villagers expressed their disappointment and frustration with PT. HMBP for not fulfilling its promise to provide plasma plantations. Their patience wore thin, leading to the breaking and burning of the company’s office on Thursday, September 21, 2023.

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Since September 16, 2023, the villagers had repeatedly called upon PT. HMBP to honor the company’s commitment made back in 2013. The agreement was signed by the company, represented by Director of Legal Affairs at Best Agro International (the parent company of PT. HMBP), HM. Wahyu Bima Dharta; General Manager, Paris Nasution; and Regional Office Regional Officer (RO), M. Arief Setiawan.

The agreement stipulated several points, including the provision of plasma plantations to be developed by January 2014, with each family receiving approximately 2 hectares of plasma plantations.

Also Read : Villagers Clashed with PT BJAP

The agreement was also signed by police chief and army commander who were in charge at the period. There were three representatives from the villagers. The document was also signed by officials of District of Seruyan, they were, Regent of Seruyan, Julhaidir; Assistant II of Seruyan Secretariat, Sugian Noor; Head of Sub district of Seruyan Raya, Rusnah; and Head of Village of Bangkal, Redes Nehang.

Police Chief of Seruyan, AKBP Ampi Mesias Von Bulow told that the demonstration was peaceful. The villagers claimed that the company should immediately realize its promise. Before the accident happened, the security officers were trying to facilitate the villagers to meet management of the company.

“Before the chaos happened, as security officers, we actually wanted to facilitate the villagers to meet the management of the company. We had six, they were, a female as head in duty of village, chairman of DAD, and some figures of the village. They should meet the management of the company,” Ampi Mesias told as Palmoilmagazine.com quoted from Viva.co.id.

Before the meeting started, a pick-up vehicle full with many men, all of a sudden, rushed in high speed heading to the mill of the company. The villagers (from the vehicle) tried to get inside the mill. It was assumed, they wanted to make chaos. The security should block the vehicle and shot tear gas to stop the vehicle not entering the mill. In the end, the vehicle went from the location.

After it happened, the security officers should reinforce their position by having many officers to secure the office and the mill. But the villagers outside of the company, got angry because of the officers. They started breaking the posts and burnt the front office of the company. It was on Thursday, 21 September 2023, at about 15.30 WIB.

The anarchy went on until night. Some workers’ houses and teachers’ official residences that teach in the school where the company developed, should be burnt. The situation in the regions is so tense. It needs further cooperation to get it calm and solution on what the villagers protested. (T2)

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