President: take stern action against companies burning forest

EoF News / 23 January 2017

Indonesian Presiden Joko Widodo asked law enforcers to take stern measure in handling forest and land fire cases by revoking permits of companies involving in setting fires, instead of issuing caution.

At a national coordination meeting on forest and land fires mitigation in Jakarta today (23 Jan), the President said that in 2017 there should more action in punishing the companies involving in burnings. “In 2015 there was warning [given to companies]. This year there is no need more warnings. [If it should] suspend permit, [go ahead] to suspend, and [if it should] rescind, please rescind,” he said as quotes as saying by Republika online.

Joko Widodo called on private sector, law enforcers and public to support stern measures against forest and land burnings. The President asked police not to compromise in handling burning cases. “Accomplish existing forest fire cases. I caution again, do not take compromise to things related to forest fire.”

He hoped in 2017 the occurrence of burnings can be decreased and the law enforcers must immediately take action against companies whose case that legally binding.

The Indonesian Government admitted that the 220 trillion rupiah loss caused by forest and land fires in 2015 was massive therefore it was urgent to prevent the country from such a recurrence. Data from the Government said that burnings in 2015 had raged 2.6 million hectares and in the following year the area burned was only 438,360 hectares.

Coordinating Minister of Political, Law and Security Affairs, Wiranto, at the meeting, said some obstacles hamper mitigation and prevention of forest fires. He said, there was no specific budget dedicated to fire prevention and to allocate facilities and basic facilities which available in the nationwide.

The Riau Police closed 15 burning cases controversially in 2015 and 2016 and Jikalahari NGO network revealed the information in June. House of Representatives set up a working committee to tackle the case drop of 15 corporate by inviting related sides and found abnormalities in the decision to close the 15 cases.