Five foreign palm oil companies suspected in Indonesia’s forest fires

The raging hotspots in central and western parts of the archipelago have already prompted neighbouring Singapore and Malaysia to warn of higher risks of haze this year. PHOTO: AP. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

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JAKARTA, Oct 6, 2019, Tempo.co. The Environment and Forestry Ministry (KLHK) has named five out of 20 foreign companies as suspects in the land and forest fires in Indonesia, reported the Tempo.co.

Out of the five firms, three palm oil plantation firms belong to Malaysia, namely PT AER and PT ABP in Ketapang, West Kalimantan; and PT IGP in Landak, West Kalimantan. While the other two are Singaporeans: palm oil plantation firm PT AUS in Katingan, Central Kalimantan and a foreign direct investment company (PMA) PT NPC in East Kutai Timur, East Kalimantan.

Other foreign companies under the examination include plantation firms PT MJSP, palm oil plantation firms (PT SIA, PT API, PT KGP, PT SMA, PT KAL, PT AAI, PT WAJ, PT GMU, PT SKS, and PT RKA), and industrial timber plantation firms or HTI (PT SP, PT GH, PT HKI, and PT FI).

“Based on temporary data, 20 of 64 companies we seal off are foreign ones. Most of them belong to Malaysia and Singapore,” said the ministry’s law enforcement director general Rasio Ridho Sani.

Rasio asserted that his side did not discriminate against companies based on their origin, so they would get sanctions based on their violations. “Whoever committing crimes of land and forest fires must be held responsible,” he said.

According to him, the companies who are proven to have burnt their lands could not avoid the sanction as the ministry could trace the land through forensic, either from location, time or the area. “They won’t be able to run away,” Ratio underlined.

He further called on the regional administration to supervise licensed corporations regularly. Such an intensive program, Rasio added, is necessary to prevent the forest fire from recurring.

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