Conglomerate IOI Corporation Berhad has denied a fire that broke out at one of its oil palm concessions in Kalimantan last year had anything to do with planting activities there.
It said IOI and its subsidiaries have a strict "zero-burning policy" for new plantings and land preparation and even lent its heavy machinery to local communities for their own land clearing and farming activities.
Instead, the company blamed the fire on a prolonged drought, and negligence by visitors at Sungai Berais – a river that cuts the concession land into two parts and is classified as an area of high conservation value.
“The area got affected by fire due to negligence of those who access the area for hunting, fishing and other activities. The fire incident happened due to the spread of fire from the HCV Management Area (HCVMA), which is located alongside Sungai Berais...