Kalimantan Businesses Threaten Indonesian Government Over Fuel Flow

By webadmin on 04:33 pm May 14, 2012
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Tunggadewa Mattangkilang

The Indonesian Employers Association of Balikpapan says it supports plans by local authorities to halt the shipment of resources from Kalimantan to protest what it sees as inconsistent policies from the central government.

Slamet Brotosiswoyo, chairman of the Balikpapan branch of the association known as Apindo, said on Thursday that governors of four regions in Kalimantan had agreed to the “moratorium.”

“Since it is a regional government policy, we fully support it. We are prepared to stop shipping natural resources from Kalimantan,” Slamet said on Thursday.

He added that the governors had sent a letter to the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry demanding an increase in the subsidized fuel quota for Kalimantan. If it does not reply by May 31, he said, the flow of minerals, oil and gas from the island will stop.

Kalimantan holds some of the country’s largest reserves of coal, oil and natural gas. It is also home to one of Indonesia’s three liquefied natural gas plants.

Slamet said industry groups in Kalimantan had accused the central government of failing to provide enough fuel for the island. He said fuel shortages had caused businesses to suffer huge operating losses, though he did not give an estimate of the losses.

Reports of long queues at fuel stations across Kalimantan are common, with businesses blaming the central government’s inability to settle on a subsidized fuel policy. Several companies have scaled back operations in remote parts of Kalimantan because of the uncertainty, Slamet said.

“Companies that transport basic staples like rice have cut their travel to one from three times a week because there is no fuel,” he said.

Andi Burhanuddin Solong, chairman of the Balikpapan Regional Representatives Council (DPRD), claimed subsidized fuel to Balikpapan and other parts of Kalimantan had been cut by 25 percent.

“There is no explanation of the cut. If we cannot get a clear explanation on this, we will protest,” the chairman of the Golkar Party’s local chapter said.

He also accused the government of unfairly favoring Java. “Fuel distribution in Java keeps on flowing while outside Java island it was cut. This is not fair,” Andi said.