Dozens of local public leaders and senior politicians have renewed their pressure on the central government to spin off West Sumatra-based cement maker PT Semen Padang from its parent company PT Semen Gresik. They issued a petition signed by a group of prominent local leaders during a rally at the West Sumatra governor’s office on Saturday. The rally, organized by the province’s Indonesian Youth National Committee (KNPI), involved more than 200 protesters.
The petition’s signatories included former West Sumatra police chief Insp. Gen. Dasrul Lamsudin, the owner of Singgalang daily Basril Djabbar, economist Revrisond Baswir and local tribal leader Kamardi Rais Datuk P. Simulie. Other signatories were West Sumatra legislative speaker Arwan Kasri and his deputy Titi Nazif Lubuk, Pasaman Regent Baharuddin R., who also chairs the provincial chapter of the United Development Party (PPP), as well as local leader of the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) Mahyeldi Ansharullah.
However, West Sumatra Governor Zainal Bakar refused to join the signatories, although he was given a similar petition on Oct. 31, which he did sign and promised to carry it through to pursue the demanded spin-off of Semen Padang from Semen Gresik. The protesters therefore demanded that the authority to facilitate the spin-off be revoked from the governor.
The demonstrators again demanded that the central government halt the sale process of all state assets, including Semen Padang, to foreign investors. They instead backed the demand by the Minang Maimbau Foundation for the cancellation of Semen Padang’s acquisition by Semen Gresik in 1995.
Last September, the new president director of Semen Padang Dwi Sutjipto, reiterated his commitment to the spin-off of his company from Semen Gresik, saying preparations for the spin-off were now in progress. Dwi was appointed by Gresik’s shareholders in a meeting in May last year.
Semen Padang’s shares are 99.99 percent controlled by Gresik, which is itself 51 percent owned by the government, 23.46 percent by the public and 25.53 percent by Cemex, who became Gresik shareholders in 1998. Besides Semen Padang, Semen Gresik fully owns South Sulawesi-based Semen Tonasa, which reportedly has also demanded a spin-off.