Indonesia to sue Malaysian palm oil firm over smog

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sumatra fires

Following the devastating forest fires in Sumatra that caused havoc in Singapore and Malaysia in June, Indonesian authorities have said they will file charges against the local unit of Malaysia’s third-largest palm oil planter, Kuala Lumpur Kepong, over illegal fires, local media reported.

The case will be opened against PT Adei Plantations, a unit of Kuala Lumpur Kepong. It is the first company to be accused by police of causing Southeast Asia’s worst air pollution crisis in 16 years. The concession area of PT Adei spans over 14,900 hectares.

However, Kuala  Lumpur Kepong in a statement denied its subsidiary was behind the forest fires, saying an analysis showed that there was only one hot spot identified within the plantations owned by PT Adei which has been extinguished promptly.

Nevertheless, “they are going to be charged with environmental damage,” said national police spokesman Ronny Franky Sompie.

Police are investigating four other companies for suspected involvement in the fires but have not identified them. The environment ministry last month named 8 Southeast Asian companies as possible suspects, among them subsidiaries of Malaysia-based Sime Darby.

Being found guilty of starting a forest fire, individuals can face a jail term of up to 10 years and fines of up to 10 billion rupiah (around $1 million). A guilty company can also have its profits seized, operations shut down and be sued for damages.

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Reading Time: 1 minute

Reading Time: 1 minute

sumatra fires

Following the devastating forest fires in Sumatra that caused havoc in Singapore and Malaysia in June, Indonesian authorities have said they will file charges against the local unit of Malaysia’s third-largest palm oil planter, Kuala Lumpur Kepong, over illegal fires, local media reported.

The case will be opened against PT Adei Plantations, a unit of Kuala Lumpur Kepong. It is the first company to be accused by police of causing Southeast Asia’s worst air pollution crisis in 16 years. The concession area of PT Adei spans over 14,900 hectares.

However, Kuala  Lumpur Kepong in a statement denied its subsidiary was behind the forest fires, saying an analysis showed that there was only one hot spot identified within the plantations owned by PT Adei which has been extinguished promptly.

Nevertheless, “they are going to be charged with environmental damage,” said national police spokesman Ronny Franky Sompie.

Police are investigating four other companies for suspected involvement in the fires but have not identified them. The environment ministry last month named 8 Southeast Asian companies as possible suspects, among them subsidiaries of Malaysia-based Sime Darby.

Being found guilty of starting a forest fire, individuals can face a jail term of up to 10 years and fines of up to 10 billion rupiah (around $1 million). A guilty company can also have its profits seized, operations shut down and be sued for damages.

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