Monday, March 05, 2007

Freddy Numberi hits foreign "plunder" of Indonesia

The highest ranking Papuan in the Indonesian national government, Fisheries and Maritime Affairs Minister, Rear Admiral (ret) Freddy Numberi has alleged that foreign 'mafias' are destroying Indonesia's economy by paying locals to plunder its natural resources. He said there had been a rise in illegal fishing by foreigners using large vessels and fresh cases of marine sand being plundered by foreign contractors in cahoots with Indonesian businessmen.

"These mafias are from certain countries which want to destroy the Indonesian economy. They know that Indonesia is a country with rich natural resources. They fear that if Indonesia became strong, it would pose a threat," he was quoted as saying by the online Media Indonesia.

Two Chinese fishing vessels had been caught 'red-handed' with hauls worth Rp 50 billion in total, said the veteran minister and former Governor of Papua province. "These mafias have been entering the country and offering huge amounts to Indonesians," he said.

The minister also hit out at the "plundering" of marine sand in the Riau islands "for reclamation works in Singapore." Marine sand exports were banned by the Indonesian authorities in 2003. The renewed mining was the work of seven foreign contractors, he said.

He also repeated earlier claims that the alleged smuggling of marine sand for Singapore's reclamation works was against Indonesian economic and political interests. According to the Straits Times newspaper, he went so far as to call Singapore a United States "puppet", and said reclamation work was meant to enable US warships to call or drop anchor there.

His latest remarks were a second salvo after comments in Saturday's Jakarta Post, when he said the ban on sand exports to Singapore would go on until border disputes were settled. Even if Indonesia lets sand sales resume, it wants to renegotiate the price and determine which areas could be mined to avoid ecological damage, he said.

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