Kok concerned over Indonesia’s accusation of open burning by Malaysian-owned plantation firms

14 Sep 2019 / 08:41 H.

KUALA LUMPUR: Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok Suh Sim (pix) has expressed concern over the sealing of land belonging to the subsidiaries of four major Malaysian-owned oil palm plantation companies in Indonesia due allegedly to fires that contributed to the haze in the region.

In a statement yesterday, Kok said the Indonesian authorities’ statement on the matter was a “serious accusation”.

She said the four named companies — Sime Darby Plantation, IOI Corporation, TDM and Kuala Lumpur Kepong — were among the most respected oil palm cultivators.

These companies, she noted, had prescribed to and adopted certified sustainable cultivation practices, either through the Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil, Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, International Sustainability and Carbon Certification or a combination of these systems.

“Those familiar with the industry will vouch for the fact that an act of open burning such as the current accusations would result in the cessation of their certification status not only in Indonesia but throughout their operations, including in Malaysia.

“Such actions would be rather counterproductive to their business status,“ Kok said, adding that she would talk with her Indonesian counterpart to resolve the matter quickly and amicably.

She said the four companies concerned had also pledged to cooperate with Indonesian authorities to correct this accusation and put matters right quickly.

“Such action is also highly unwarranted since I remain concerned that the current accusation will play right into the hands of the anti-palm oil campaigners and both Indonesia and Malaysia as major palm oil producers could end up as the ultimate losers,” she said.

Indonesia’s Environment Minister Siti Nurbaya Bakar was reported as saying that at least four palm oil companies whose land had been sealed off were subsidiaries of Malaysian groups.

They are West Kalimantan-based Sime Indo Agro, which is a unit of Sime Darby Plantation, and Sukses Karya Sawit, a unit of IOI Corporation.

Others are TDM Bhd unit Rafi Kamajaya Abadi and Riau-based Adei Plantation and Industry, a unit of Kuala Lumpur Kepong Group.

However, Kok said she could not comment fully on the investigation and reporting by Indonesia until her ministry’s officials had full access to the investigation report. — Bernama

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