Haze: Riau fingers Malaysian firm for illegal burning
A Malaysian company has been named a suspect in the Riau forest fires which caused the haze to blanket Singapore and Malaysia last month, raising the air pollutant index to hazardous levels.
PT ADEI Plantation and Industry, a subsidiary of Kuala Lumpur Kepong Berhad (KLK), was suspected of causing the fires in Riau to clear the land for plantation.
Indonesian police spokesman Inspector General Ronny F. Sompie told the Jakarta Post:
"The company responsible for the fire is now declared a suspect, but we have not determined the company's employees who were responsible for the burning."
Ronny said several hotspots were detected in areas controlled by five companies, but police had only obtained evidence against PT ADEI.
Riau Police spokesman Senior Commissioner Hermansyah said they had questioned 16 employees of PT ADEI but declined to identify them by name or position.
"We do not want to rush naming those responsible but they can be charged under the 2002 Environment Law, the 1999 Forestry Law and the Criminal, which carries a maximum 10 years' jail and Rp10 billion (US$1 million) in fines, if convicted," he said.
KLK had on June 26, published a public statement in the Jakarta Post reiterating that it was not responsible for the illegal burning and was in full compliance with the Asean zero burning policy in its operations.
"The concession area under PT ADEI is mainly mature palms and is at a productive stage and therefore, there are no land clearing activities," the statement read.
The Malaysian public-listed firm, however, acknowledged minor occurrences of wild fires within pockets of its concession areas due to the dry season.
Previously, Indonesia's Environment Minister Balthasar Kambuaya suggested 14 companies were the source of forest fires in Riau.
In total eight are Malaysian-owned, namely PT Langgam Inti Hiberida,PT Bumi Rakksa Sejati, PT Tunggal Mitra Plantation, PT UdayaLoh Dinawi as well as PT Jatim Jaya Perkasa, PT Multi Gambut Industri,PT Mustika Agro Lestari and PT ADEI.
Three of the firms under investigation are owned by government-linked companies in Malaysia.
Following investigations, Indonesian authorities narrowed their probe into the activities of five companies,
At the height of the problem, Indonesia's President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono issued an apology to neighbouring countries
This company should be booked and charged by all means,just imagine the suffering we folks have gone thru in terms of health and financially especially when we have to fork out extra money to consult doctors for all the respiratory hazards. This could`nt careless firms are making money on our expense.
Looks like at the end, nobody is responsible except the poor sole owners who are caught.
we are soon told that lands in Riau can accidentally combust. Graft and corruption is the main reason why haze happens again and again