Indonesia probes eight firms for fires, including Sime Darby unit 

(TMI) – Indonesia is investigating eight firms for causing fires that led to the smoke shrouding parts of Southeast Asia, including Malaysia’s Sime Darby and Singapore-listed Wilmar and First Resources, the Singapore Straits Times reported today. 
It said that Indonesian Environment Minister Balthasar Kambuaya revealed the details at a meeting in Jakarta yesterday with his Singapore counterpart Vivian Balakrishnan. 

He did not name the firms, but Indonesian officials working with non-governmental groups separately identified 17 pulp and paper and 15 palm oil companies on whose land fires had been burning over the past nine days. 

The majority of the hot spots in Riau province is inside concessions affiliated to Royal Golden Eagle, of which April Group – with an office in Singapore – is part, and Sinar Mas Forestry, which supplies to Asia Pulp and Paper, presidential delivery unit chief Kuntoro Mangkusubroto told a briefing yesterday. 

The April Group said yesterday that the firm and its third-party suppliers practise a strict “no-burn” policy. 

“The information on concession licences was gathered from publicly available sources and confirmed against satellite images of hot spots,” said Samadhi Nirarta, the presidential unit’s deputy on moratorium monitoring. Dr Balakrishnan, who travelled to Jakarta yesterday as Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s special envoy, welcomed his counterpart’s update on enforcement.

“We have got to join the dots and get that trail of accountability back to the companies and the stakeholders who are responsible for this disaster,” he told Singapore media. 

“If we don’t do that, there will not be sufficient deterrent on the ground.” 

On Thursday, PM Lee said his Government will act against Singapore companies found responsible for the fires. 

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