Malaysian Company Accused of Abuses in Tanintharyi

A Malaysian palm oil plantation joint venture in Tanintharyi Region checked to have caused “severe social and environmental impacts” to the local community in the area, according to human rights group.

A Myanmar National Human Rights Commission (MNHRC) spokesperson on Thursday said that members of commission visited the Myanmar Stark Prestige Plantation Company (MSPP) in Tanintharyi township, Myeik district, at the request of the Malaysian Human Rights Commission.

MSSP has lodged a complaint that it was bullied by local communities and stopped from developing the land the company had already bought.

However, what the MNHRC discovered during their inspection, from November 19 to 22, was a totally a different picture of what the MSSP had  claimed.

According to the report of Protecting the Enviroment with Intelligence, “MSPP activities have caused severe negative social and environmental impacts to four indigenous Karen villages, home to approximately 4,480 people within the concession area, and in total 13 villages are affected.”

It is noted that since the MSSP began operation in 2011, the company has cleared more than 6,000 acres of land, including the betel nut and cashew orchards, which villagers depended for their livelihoods.

“Families who have lost their agriculture land have fallen into high levels of debt or been forced to work as day labourers for low wages (in the plantation),” the report noted.

“Even if the company paid for the land, it is not legal if the owners disagree.” “The local residents said they were pressured (to sell their land). There are too many human rights violations in this land dispute.’’

“We’ll send the results of the investigation trip to the President’s Office and both sides of the related organisations,’’ U Yu Lwin Aung said.

The MSPP is a joint venture between Malaysia-based Prestige Platform, which owns a 95 percent stake, and Myanmar-based Stark Industries, which owns a five per cent stake.

Prestige Platform is a subsidiary of Glenealy Plantations which, in turn, is a subsidiary of Samling Group, a Malaysian conglomerate.

In 2011, MSPP was granted a permit by the Myanmar Investment Commission (MIC) to establish a 38,000-acre, $36.75 million oil palm project in Tanintharyi township, Myeik district, Tanintharyi Region.

A project signboard erected by MSPP in 2014 lists the concession area as 42,200 acres, while a company map from 2015 shows a concession boundary measuring 49,227 acres.

Correction – Myanmar Times Issue 6/6 In the story – “Malaysian company accaused abuses in Thanintharyi”,the fourth paragraph and six paragraph were according to the report of Protecting the Enviroment with Intelligence,and they were not noted from MNHCR Team.We profoundly apologize for U Yu Lwin Aung for our misunderstanding informations.


Source: Myanmar Times

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