REPUBLIKA.CO.ID, JAKARTA -- A survey shows that 25 conglomerates account for 31 percent of oil palm plantations in size in Indonesia.
The company groups are owned by Indonesian and foreign tycoons such as from Malaysia.
In addition the company group have around 2 million hectares of plantation areas not yet cultivated, a researcher from Transformation for Justice (TuK) Indonesia Rahmawati Retno Winarni said in a workshop here on Thursday.
Including the 2 million hectares not yet cultivated, the tycoons account for 43 percent or 12 million hectares of oil palm plantation areas in the country.
"This could cause a complicated social and environmental problem," Rahmawati said.
She said currently there are 10 million hectares of planted oil palm plantations and 3.1 million hectares of which are owned by 25 company group.
Including the 2 million hectares of land not yet planted with oil palm trees, the 25 conglomerates have a total plantation area of 5.1 million hectares.
The plantation areas of the conglomerates are found in Kalimantan accounting for 62 percent (mainly in West Kalimantan, Central Kalimantan and East Kalimantan), Sumatra accounting for 32 percent (mainly in Riau followed by South Sumatra ), Sulawesi 4 percent and Papua 2 percent.
Among the 25 company groups are the Wilmar Group (owned by Martua Sitorus and friends) , the Sinar Mas Group (Eka Tjipta Widjaja) , the Raja Garuda Mas Group (Sukanto Tanoto), Batu Kawan Group (Lee Oi Hian, from Malaysia), Salim Group (Anthoni Salim), Jardine Matheson Group (Henry Kaswick, from Scotland ), Genting Group (Lim Kok Thay, from Malaysia) and the Bakrie Group (Aburizal Bakrie).
Most or 21 of the 25 company groups are listed including 11 on the Indonesian Stock Exchange, 6 in Singapore Stock Market , 3 in Kuala Lumpur stock market and 1 in London Stsock Exchange.
The oil palm plantation conglomerates are financially supported by big banks including HSBC from Britain, OCBC from Singapore, CIMB from Malaysia, Bank Mandiri from Indonesia.
The tycoons that control the conglomerates have assets valued at around US$71.5 billion in 2013 or equivalent to 8 percent of the country's GDP of US$868 billion in 2013 and 42 percent of the state budget of Rp1,726 trillion in the same year.
Meanwhile Wiko Saputro from the Association of Initiative & Tax Justice Network Indonesia said the farm, plantation and forestry business tax ratio in 2012 was only 1.02 (as against the electricity, gas and drinking water tax ratio of 20) with potential non collectible tax of Rp44.64 trillion.
"This indicates tax evasion ," he said.