Malaysiakini NEWS

Report: Indonesia acts against M'sian-owned firm, seals land over haze

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Indonesian authorities have sealed a plot of land in Riau which belongs to the subsidiary of a Malaysian firm for allegedly being involved in forest fires that contributed to haze in the region, according to a news report.

CNN Indonesia said the Environment and Forestry Ministry acted against PT Adei Plantation Industry after it was suspected of deliberately starting the forest fires.

Its minister Siti Nurbaya Bakar was quoted as saying that a large portion of the firm's shares was owned by a plantation company based in Malaysia.

"We have checked the company from Malaysia that started the fire. It (the land) was sealed on Sept 11," she told CNN Indonesia.

Siti Nurbaya had also ordered the ministry's enforcement arm to check the registration of all Malaysian and Singaporean companies whose land areas are on fire.

Explaining her previous remark that the haze in Malaysia originated from Sarawak instead of Indonesia, the minister said she had merely explained satellite data taken between Sept 3 and 8.

"That was the data I was explaining about. I am asking (all) to be objective. If we talk about today's data, surely the situation is different.

"We must be sequential in analysing data," she added.

Siti Nurbaya made the claim despite the Asean Specialised Meteorological Centre's (ASMC) tracking showing that the haze in Peninsular Malaysia primarily originated from Sumatra while the haze in Sarawak originated from Kalimantan.

The remarks courted flak from Malaysian officials, including Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Minister Yeo Bee Yin who told Nurbaya not to be in denial.

Yeo cited the latest data on the total number of hotspots recorded by ASMC, which showed 474 located in Kalimantan and 387 in Sumatra, as opposed to Malaysia with just seven.

Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister II Douglas Uggah Embas had also expressed shock over Siti Nurbaya's claim and told the latter to look at the right map.

Yesterday, Yeo said Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad would write to Indonesian President Joko Widodo as soon as possible regarding the transboundary haze issue.

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