Friday, February 23, 2024

DEFEND ID deny allegations of weapons sales to Myanmar military

Reading Time: 3 minutes
Journalist IBP


Mahinda Arkyasa



In response to recent allegations selling weapons to the Myanmar military, the Ministry of State-Owned Enterprises (Kementerian BUMN) and DEFEND ID have both vehemently denied any involvement in such activities.

The allegations surfaced in light of the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 75/287, which prohibits the supply of arms to Myanmar. Specifically, PT Pindad, PT PAL, and PT Dirgantara Indonesia, all under DEFEND ID, were implicated in the alleged arms sales.

Kartika Wirjoatmodjo, Vice Minister of State-Owned Enterprises expressed his lack of knowledge regarding these allegations, stating, “I haven’t heard about it. I don’t know the information. Honestly, I don’t know; I haven’t received any information.”

Kartika emphasized that they are currently in the process of examining the allegations. He reiterated that he has not received any information regarding arms sales to Myanmar by state-owned enterprises.

DEFEND ID claimed no export activity

Reports suggest that PT Pindad, PT PAL, and PT Dirgantara Indonesia were the companies allegedly involved in the arms sales, all operating under DEFEND ID. On Friday, October 6, 2023, DEFEND ID issued an official statement reaffirming that there has been no export activity by Indonesian defense industries to Myanmar after February 1, 2021, aligning with UN General Assembly Resolution 75/287, which prohibits arms supplies to Myanmar.

DEFEND ID, through PT Len Industri (Persero) as its parent holding company, which consists of PT Dahana, PT Pindad, PT Dirgantara Indonesia (PTDI), and PT PAL Indonesia stated they fully supported the UN resolution’s efforts to halt violence in Myanmar.

PT Pindad, in particular, confirmed that they have not exported any products to Myanmar after the UN Security Council’s call on February 1, 2021.

“We can confirm that PT Pindad has not engaged in the export of alphankam products to Myanmar, especially after the UN Security Council’s call on February 1, 2021, regarding the violence in Myanmar,” stated DEFEND ID.

Export of sports ammunition

Furthermore, DEFEND ID clarified that any previous exports to Myanmar were limited to ammunition with sports-use specifications for Myanmar’s participation in the ASEAN Armies Rifle Meet (AARM) 2016. Similarly, PTDI and PT PAL have no record of collaboration or product sales to Myanmar.

“We can confirm that there has been no collaboration or product sales of defense armaments from both of these companies to Myanmar,” they concluded.

As a company capable of supporting the defense system of the nation, DEFEND ID has consistently aligned itself with the Indonesian government’s stance. They remain compliant and steadfast in adhering to applicable regulations, including Indonesia’s foreign policy.

The Ministry of State-Owned Enterprises and DEFEND ID’s unequivocal denial of these allegations serves as a strong rebuttal to the claims, reiterating their commitment to upholding international regulations and maintaining transparency in their operations. The issue remains under investigation as authorities seek to ascertain the accuracy of the allegations.

Domestic and international activists raise concern over alleged illegal weapon trade with Myanmar

A group of human rights activists has brought attention to the alleged illicit arms trade between Indonesia and Myanmar, prompting concerns over potential violations of international sanctions. 

Marzuki Darusman, former Indonesian Attorney General, who previously led a United Nations fact-finding mission on Myanmar, highlighted the scope of the illegal arms sales, which reportedly encompass a wide range of weaponry, including assault rifles, pistols, ammunition, military vehicles, and other equipment. Darusman and other activists submitted a formal complaint to the Indonesian National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) on October 2, 2023.

According to Darusman, these weapon sales have been ongoing for the past decade and have been linked to the alleged atrocities against the Rohingya ethnic minority in Myanmar since 2021.

In addition to Marzuki Darusman, Za Uk Ling, leader of the Chin Ethnic Human Rights Organization, and the International Human Rights Organization Myanmar Accountability Project have also raised concerns with Komnas HAM.

They presented evidence from open sources and media reports indicating that three Indonesian companies have transferred weapons and ammunition to Myanmar through True North Co Ltd. True North is a private company that negotiated deals between the Myanmar military and Indonesian weapon manufacturers.

Of particular note, Htoo Htoo Shein Oo, the son of Myanmar’s junta Planning and Finance Minister Win Shein, owns True North. Win Shein is currently a target of sanctions imposed by the United States, Canada, and the European Union.

The allegations have raised significant international attention, with human rights advocates and legal experts closely monitoring developments.

The Indonesian government, along with relevant authorities, is expected to investigate these claims thoroughly to ascertain their veracity and take appropriate action if necessary. As the situation unfolds, concerns about potential breaches of international sanctions and regulations continue to mount.

Journalist IBP


Mahinda Arkyasa




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