The Pontificate - Contribute to help UCA News
The Pontificate - Contribute to help UCA News
UCA News


Indonesia seals off 64 companies over forest fires

Five foreign firms facing charges of deliberately starting blazes contributing to choking haze across region

Featured Authors - Columnists | Make a Contribution
Featured Authors - Columnists | Make a Contribution
Indonesia seals off 64 companies over forest fires

Smoke caused by forest and land burning in Central Kalimantan. (Photo supplied)

Share this article :
Indonesian authorities have sealed off land belonging to 64 palm oil companies, five of which are suspected of deliberately starting forest and peat fires that have caused choking haze across the region.

The Environment and Forestry Ministry said 20 firms are owned by foreign corporations and that three Malaysian and two Singaporean companies were named suspects after authorities found hotspots on their land.

The ministry’s law enforcement chief, Rasio Ridho Sani, said the other foreign companies were being investigated.

He said firms that flout the law, regardless of their country of origin, will be punished and their directors could face prison terms of up to 12 years.

“Whoever commits land crimes by causing forest fires must be held responsible,” Ridho said.

He said the authorities are hunting down companies that have burned their lands and will force them to pay for what they have done.

Divine Word Father Frans Sani Lake, director of the Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation in Kalimantan, said he hoped Ridho would be true to his word.

Forest or peat fires will continue to happen unless there is stringent law enforcement against the perpetrators, he said.

“It’s not so much a question of how many companies were sealed off, but how law enforcement is implemented upon them,” he told “Forest burning follows the same pattern, by the same perpetrators, in the same locations.” 

Indonesian law prohibits the burning of forests and the government must use the law and related regulations to punish the companies directly, the priest said.

Rusmadya Maharuddin, of Greenpeace Indonesia, welcomed the government’s latest move.

“We hope that law enforcement is seriously and transparently applied to them because previously the government only sealed off their land and didn’t continue with further legal measures,” he told

“The government must strictly punish them with prison sentences, fines and by revoking their licenses. If not forest burning will continue, which will mean dire consequences not only for the environment but also for many people.” 

According to Indonesia’s Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency, there were about 45,200 fires detected this month, up from 27,212 during the same period last year.

Support UCA News...

UCA News provides a unique service, bringing you the voices of emerging churches and helping you see efforts made to evangelize and bring relief to people in all manner of need.

UCA News has more than 40 full time and part time reporters, editors and administrators bringing you this service from across 23 countries in south, southeast and east Asia. You, too, can be part of their efforts by contributing even a small amount to keep UCA News available to the world.
Click here to consider the options available to you.

Your contribution to UCA News will immensely help us continue to grow a strong media community by harnessing information technology to inform, engage, inspire and influence the Catholics of Asia and the world.

As a gesture of our gratitude to your commitment to UCA News, we are pleased to gift you a free PDF Book/e-Book titled Mission in Asia when you make a contribution.

UCA News Donate
UCA Newsletter
Thank you. You are now signed up to our Daily Full Bulletin newsletter

Also Read

UCA News Podcast
UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia
UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia
UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia
Mission in Asia | Make a Contribution
Mission in Asia | Make a Contribution
Mission in Asia | Make a Contribution