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MSPP Oil Palm plantation in Tanintharyi region, Myanmar

Communities renounce through peaceful protest the MSPP Oil Palm Plantation that has encroached their indigenous lands


Oil palm monocultures have expanded rapidly in Myanmar over the last decades. In Tanintharyi region, more than 1.8 million acres (728,434 ha) of land have been awarded for oil palm plantations, often to companies with close ties to the military. Expansion has further increased recently through the arrival of foreign direct investment into the country. This expansion has provoked large human rights abuses and environmental destruction, as the case of the Myanmar Stark Prestige Plantation (MSPP) Oil Palm concessions shows [1,2,3]. The development and impacts of the MSPP concession have been documented in detail through the Green Desert report (see [1]), produced by local civil society organizations. 

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:MSPP Oil Palm plantation in Tanintharyi region, Myanmar
State or province:Tanintharyi region
Location of conflict:Tanintharyi Township, Myeik District
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Biomass and Land Conflicts (Forests, Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock Management)
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Plantation conflicts (incl. Pulp
Land acquisition conflicts
Agro-fuels and biomass energy plants
Logging and non timber extraction
Specific commodities:Land
Palm oil
Project Details and Actors
Project details

The Myanmar Stark Prestige Plantation (MSPP) project is located in Tanintharyi Township, Myeik District. The Karen National Union (KNU) administers this area as Ler Muh Lah Township, Mergui-Tavoy District. Four villages are located within the concession area: Thein Pyin, Kawat, Baw Sa Nway, and Swae Chaung Wa [1].

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Project area:15,378
Level of Investment:36,750,000 USD
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:4,480
Start of the conflict:2001
Company names or state enterprises:Stark Industries Co. from Myanmar - operating company - joint venture partner
Prestige Platform Co. from Malaysia - operating company - joint venture partner
Glenealy Plantaions Co. from Malaysia - parent company
Samling Group from Malaysia
Relevant government actors:Myanmar Central Government
Myanmar Investment Commission (MIC)
Karen National Union (KNU)
International and Finance InstitutionsMaybank from Malaysia - appears as potential funder of the MSPP parent companies
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Main organizations:
Southern Youth,
Candle Light,
Khaing Myae Thitsar,
Myeik Lawyer Network
Dawei Development Association
Supporting organizations:
Inclusive Development International (IDI)
Earth Rights International (ERI)
Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA)
and others
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Local ejos
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
Local scientists/professionals
Religious groups
ehtnic Karen
Forms of mobilization:Community-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Refusal of compensation
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Potential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Global warming, Soil contamination
Health ImpactsVisible: Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide, Other environmental related diseases
Other Health impactsWater pollution through fertilizers, pesticides and animal faeces caused livestock dying, skin irritations and dysentery.
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Compensation
Strengthening of participation
Under negotiation
Project temporarily suspended
compensation was below fair standards
Development of alternatives:Groups argue for a moratorium of oil palm plantations until functioning safeguards are in place to protect both communities and the environment. More generally groups call for a moratorium on large-scale investment projects in conflict areas until strong and inclusive governance mechanisms are in place. For further recommendations, see the Green Desert report, published in December 2016 [1].
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:The social mobilizations had significant impact on raising awareness about oil palm expansion in the region. The expansion of the project has been temporarily suspended, however, the concession area was not returned to the villagers.
Sources & Materials
Juridical relevant texts related to the conflict (laws, legislations, EIAs, etc)

2012 Foreign Investment Law
[click to view]

2012 Vacant, Fallow and Virgin Lands Management Law
[click to view]

2012 Environmental Conservation Law
[click to view]

2015 Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Procedure
[click to view]

1991 Procedures Conferring the Right to Cultivate Land
[click to view]

2014 Environmental Conservation Rules
[click to view]

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

[1] GREEN Desert: Communities in Tanintharyi renounce the MSPP Oil Palm Concession. Report published in December 2016, by Tarkapaw, TRIP NET, Southern Youth, Candle Light, Khaing Myae Thitsar, Myeik Lawyer Network and Dawei Development Association. (accessed online 14.04.2018).
[click to view]

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

[3] Eleven Myanmar online news, 13 May 2016. Tanintharyi villagers demand end to palm-oil project. (accessed online 14.04.2018).
[click to view]

Mighty Earth, 3 February 2017. Samling’s Forest Crime Spree Moves to Myanmar. (accessed online 14 April 2018).
[click to view]

[2] The Myanmar Times, online article, 24 November 2017. Malaysian company accused of abuses in Tanintharyi. (accessed online 14.04.2018)
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Green Desert documentary video
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:EJatlas Southeast Asia Team ("at"
Last update18/08/2019
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