Friday, April 27, 2007


Been “jalan jalan lagi” but strangely that had little effect on the world. The world didn’t stop and wait for me to get back.

I see the Newmont trial is over and Mr. Ness and the company has been acquitted of pollution and environmental damage charges. Based on newspaper reports of mishandled evidence, false reports and various other agenda driven slanders, it remains bizarre that the process took this long.

It’s a shame that various NGO still have not realised the damage to their credibility this case has done to them. It’s a bigger shame the NGO’s have compromised themselves just when Indonesia needs a reliable and transparent environmental watchdog the most. Its time for some leadership reviews and not just in the corporate world.

Here’s a tip …..’Walli’s” of the world, take a trip out to Surabaya and go play in the toxic mud brought to us by the Brothers Grimm. Perhaps out there you may regain some perspective.

Meanwhile a recent strike at Freeport, Papua raised a number of comments around the blogsphere. Predictably (and some what of a yawn), it was the mostly the “BIG BAD MULTINATIONAL” biased comments flowing again.

Invariably, the calls from the rabid green are to close the mine down and pay compensation (based on what??) and return the land to the people.

Of course, you never hear of what will replace the mine as the single biggest taxpayer in Indonesia. Perhaps a payroll tax on the ojek drivers?

In this strike, native Papuans wanted to a pay rise to over 3 times the national average and were concerned that Javanese were always given preference to Papuans in recruitment and career options.

The recruitment and promotion of Javanese over other ethnic groups is an explosive issue throughout many of the provinces. Decades of unequal school funding and “transmigration” policies have left many provinces way behind their Javanese cousins and this has yet to reach its crisis point. Although its safe to say the government does not have a lot time left to act.

The Papuans have every right to demand more opportunities from the wealth taken from their land. I can’t help but think their anger is misdirected. Any company is going to select its employees from the most qualified. A better question is where have the taxes and royalties gone? Why haven’t we got the best schools and hospitals in Indonesia based on out input to the national coffers? These are not questions that Freeport is responsible for.

The other issue is getting paid over three times the National Average. I know makes the NGO’s and other rabids feel all warm and fuzzy. Yippee!! We have screwed a few more bucks of our wealth back from the evil multi national!

Its short sighted, immature and devastates the communities involved. Basic supply and demand principles mean than market prices rise to the level the consumer can afford to pay (Hero Bali vs Hero Solo). Unless you can afford to employ every member of that community, you have condemned those without access to those higher wages to even greater poverty. (Does anyone want to take a bet that the price of a bag of rice in Papua does not double on the basis of the new wages?)

Perhaps instead of chasing ghosts and glory, the WALLI’s of this world could actually develop and propose viable working plans that ensure “All” of the community advances on the back of the natural bounty of the land.

Of course, this would require a bit of thought and planning. You cannot go changing the rules halfway thru the game .. UPFRONT AND TRANSPARENT


oigal said...

Hey no kidding,,Walli is intentional is the SNIP...Moron..

Look behind

IndCoup said...



johnorford said...

Great post, i totally agree with you.

NGOs and those types too often get sucked up their own arses, rather than seriously thinking about how to fundamentally make things better.


oigal said...

Thanks Johnno..

I so care a lot about the environment, it fact I beleive what is happening in Indonesia is a Global criminal act! However, I also believe that the "stop all development and lets go back to the trees" is mindless and stupid.

All too often the environment is only a vehicle to extract money or poltical advantage... aka Sand Mining (does anyone believe it was really environmental concerns??) or Newmont = $$$$

Achmad Sudarsono said...


How's this as an idea: Europe and Australia screwed up their environment in their path to prosperity. Europe cut down their forests, the Aussies screwed up in other ways.
If you care about hugging sun bears so much, how 'bout the White Man replants his own forests - they can be the lungs of the world - and let us get on with developing our economies. Ok Friend ?

oigal said...

Ibu Assma,

As much as you are an major league idiot, through sheer evolutionary luck a semi rational point surfaces.

Putting aside the sorry white arse man rant, Australia and Europe did (do)screwed up their environment in their path to prosperity. Does that mean Indonesia is incapable of learning from others mistakes..You have a poor opinion of the future for Indonesians then!!

Oh and as a matter of fact (not that facts normally worry you) USA, Australia, Europe have all increased forest size every year for the past decade.

Interesting side point China overhauls USA as number one CO2 polluter this year.

Jakartass said...

Presumably you know something about Papua prices, Mr. O., but it does occur to me that the remoteness of Papua and its dependency on few 'industries' would inevitably mean higher prices anyway. Supply and demand, you say. Interestingly, I'm told that the Freeport canteens are (or certainly were) stocked with imported foodstuffs. Presumably the company stores are quite expensive, too.

That Big Jim Moffatt agreed to the peaceful demands says that he probably recognises that an average of $340 per month is equitable, albeit only on his terms. It's only going to cost the company c.$6 million a year (3,000 employees x $170 x 12 months), which isn't that much compared to the c.$1.2 billion p.a. contributed to central government. He's never been noted for his philanthropy after all.

Unfortunately, I have to agree with you about the ineffectiveness of most NGOs, but why that is would take a lengthy post ~ yours or mine?

Incidentally, don't forget that it is the Indonesian government which is now appealing the Newmont case verdict.

Finally, I am bemused by your comment that the "rabid greens" (eh?)"stop all development and ... go back to the trees". I have a regular commentator, Miko, who uses similar language to describe environmentalism, without bothering to examine my arguments in any depth.

I haven't read any such comments recently, except by you and he. Please give us the links to those "comments around the blogosphere". If you can't do that, then you weaken your arguments.


oigal said...

Hi J,

Actually you are assuming wrong Mr. J. I have very little knowledge of the prices and situation in the market in Papau...BUT.. I have had on numerous occasions the misfortune of working along side various UN missions and invariably the same situation happens, a select few gain very high (relative) wages due to the "pc do good factor" and those not at the trough cannot afford the massive price increases that follow. A similar process happens anywhere there is a market distorting influence. Compare the price of rice in Dili vs Kupang for example.

I am well aware of your anti Freeport stance and that’s ok, however, I think you are missing my point. Awarding a market distorting wage increase was the easy and lazy way out. It will increase poverty for those not lucky enough to hold or indirect line for a company job. This is where a real NGO could have some up with something far better.

"Incidentally, don't forget that it is the Indonesian government which is now appealing the Newmont case verdict." You are offering this up as adding to the credibility of your argument???...Come on you can do better than that! What is the basis of the appeal? Which government department, backed by who?

"Finally, I am bemused by your comment that the "rabid greens" (eh?)"stop all development and ... go back to the trees".

Well yes a bit of poetic license..never the less, do you really what me to lay out some of the more bizarre plans of various green organisations? How about we keep it local and pragmatic for now.

For instance, using your own figures (which are severely under the tote by the way), lets close Freeport. Where is the replacement revenue to come from? If you cannot answer that then the rest is moot.

As for the post on NGO's probably you as mine would be way too biased, I cannot think of one that is not compromised at every level.. They are the new nazis, representing no one but themselves, normally unelected office bearers, dubious money trails and tolerate no alternative views other than their own narrow agenda.

Finally, " Please give us the links to those "comments around the blogosphere". If you can't do that, then you weaken your arguments."

I can do that but you are now holding me to higher standards than yourself, by your own admission you rarely include any mitigating factors in your rants against freeport and the like. I am just providing some balance.

Jakartass said...

I always give links; naturally they usually back up my views, but not always.

I'm happy to agree to disagree, but generally and preferably without making derogatory personal remarks. There are exceptions, of course, but only reserved for those who put themselves on pedestals e.g. the Bakrie Boys.

oigal said...

J..AH AH The Brothers Grim..Canker of Indonesia.

Don't think for a moment that I agree with anyone destroying all around them for minute..but seeing how you brought it up..why the difference between the brothers Grim and Freeport..

Oh and company stores..whats the relevence?