Indonesia — President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has called for an immediate judicial process against Riau forest fire suspects that have already been arrested.
“I ask for immediate enforcement of the law and speedy judicial process of their case in a fair manner,” he stated before a cabinet meeting here on Monday.
That way he hoped “there will be a deterrent effect and people will not be careless and burn forests irresponsibly causing problems to thousands of fellow citizens and disrupt flights and other activities.”
President Yudhoyono made the statement after receiving a report that some people have been arrested in connection with the recent forest fires.
“I am told that a number of people have been questioned. My instruction is to process the case quickly and bring it to court immediately for people to learn,” he reiterated.
He added that the government has already worked well to overcome smoke problems caused by forest fires.
He emphasized that there are two factors that have caused forest fires, creating haze.
The first factor is the weather, which is abnormal again this year, marked by forecasts from El Nino and extreme weather conditions. “Due to this our forests and lands can easily catch fire,” he explained.
The second factor is negligence and deliberate action by local people and certain companies or combination of both that can cause bigger fires.
Coordinating minister for peoples welfare Agung Laksono meanwhile added that 26 people, who had caused the forest fires, have been arrested.
“Today we arrested 26 people. Some were arrested upon individual capacity while others where representing companies, which we are not known so far. Certainly further investigation will be carried out to find out who has ordered them to carry out the fires,” he elaborated.
He added that the government will take harsh actions against those who have burned the forests and caused haze.
He stated that Dumai and Bengkalis have so far been the worst hit by fires.