Jakarta not ready to name firms responsible for forest fires

Jakarta not ready to name firms responsible for forest fires

19 October 2015

published by www.channelnewsasia.com

Indonesia — Jakarta has said it is not yet ready to officially disclose names of plantation companies responsible for the forest fires in the country that caused the haze in the region.

Indonesia’s Coordinating Minister for Politics, Law and Security Luhut Pandjaitan said releasing the names would create uncertainty within the country.

Speaking to the media in Singapore after delivering a public lecture on Monday (Oct 19), he said Jakarta might consider releasing the names of the companies after they have gone though the legal process in Indonesia.

However, media reports said Indonesia’s Environment and Forestry Ministry had revoked the concession licences of several companies responsible for causing forest fires in Sumatra and Kalimantan. Others had their licences or operations suspended. The companies’ names have been mentioned by the reports.

More than 200 plantation companies operating in Sumatra and Kalimantan are being investigated for clearing their land by burning. A number of them are believed to have links to Singapore-based firms.

The Singapore Government has officially requested Jakarta to provide them with the names of those companies. This would allow Singapore to take legal action against those responsible for the haze that has blanketed the city-state and neighboring Malaysia and Thailand.

Luhut Pandjaitan said: “Well, we are not protecting (plantation companies). Like I mentioned earlier, we have not officially submitted the names to the court. So how can we disclose them to the public? It’s unfair. We’ll wait for the court’s final decision.”

He added that the Indonesian government also do not want to create an uncertain situation within the country because of this. “Moving forward, they know that they are going to get punished by the government. I think this is very important.

“But next year, we have already given them a clear message: We are going to revoke their licence, no question about that. That I can assure you. They understand that fully.”

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