Malaysia and Indonesia will sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)next week to control open burning in the plantation industry in an effort totackle the haze problem. Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister DatukPeter Chin Fah Kui said the MoU would be signed by his ministry and theIndonesian Agriculture Ministry.
“The MoU is a long-term commitment from both countries on this issue,”he told reporters after attending the signing of a soft loan agreement betweengovernment-owned Forest Plantation Development Sdn Bhd (FPDSB) and Sarawak-basedtimber company Ta Ann Holding Berhad for a forest plantation programme hereSunday night.
On allegations that Malaysian companies were involved in open burning in SouthKalimantan and Sumatra in Indonesia, Chin said that until today there was noofficial reply from the Indonesian government and he believed that theallegations were made by the non-governmental organisations (NGOs) there.
He said he himself wanted to know which were the plantation companies allegedlyinvolved. Earlier in his speech, Chin said 36 companies had submitted theirapplications to be included in the first phase of the forest plantationprogramme.
“More agreements will be signed before the end of the year involvingcompanies from the peninsula, Sabah and Sarawak to meet the government target ofdispensing the initial RM200 million loan approved to support up to 12,000hectares of forest plantations for 2006 and a further 24,000 hectares for 2007and 2008,” he said.
Chin said the government was aggressively working towards increasing thecountry’s forest plantation area from the current 270,000 hectares to 500,000hectares in the peninsula, Sabah and Sarawak.
He said FPDSB, being the government Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), has beenentrusted to disburse the initial RM200 million provided by the government inthe form of soft loans to qualified agencies and companies.