Our Forest Our Live: A Story from Muara Tae

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Problems between oil palm plantation companies and indigenous peoples, mining companies and indigenous peoples, HTI companies with indigenous peoples and HPH with indigenous peoples are problems that have not yet been resolved in Indonesia.

The expansion of coal and palm oil has spread to Muara Tae village, located in West Kutai Regency. The expansion was carried out on the grounds of meeting national energy needs.

However, this argument contradicts the fact that more than half of the raw coal and palm oil is exported abroad due to more attractive prices. Around 73.8 percent of crude palm oil production was exported abroad in 2009. In West Kutai, increased coal production has more than doubled from 2007 to 2009. 70 percent of national coal production was dredged from East Kalimantan . However, 80% of national coal production was exported abroad in 2010.

The arrival of the coal and palm mining corporation also did not have an impact on meeting the need for electricity and significant welfare for the people of Muara Tae. Coal is one of the raw materials for electrical energy. Although one of the largest coal supplier corporations has entered Muara Tae, namely PT Gunung Bayan Pratama coal, West Kutai district is one of the lowest districts in terms of electricity supply in East Kalimantan. In East Kalimantan, PLN (State Electricity Company) is also reported to have a deficit of 30 MW.

Ironically, more than 50 percent of national electricity sales are still for industrial and commercial combined. In terms of welfare, although West Kutai Regency ranks 18th highest in the national regency for tax or non-tax revenue sharing, up to 740 billion rupiahs, but the West Kutai HDI (Human Development Index) ranks lowest in East Kalimantan.

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