Indonesian court fines sago firm RM329m for forest fires

court

PETALING JAYA: A major sago producing company in Indonesia has been asked to pay a hefty fine of 319 billion rupiah (RM98 million) for negligence that caused forest fires in Riau, Sumatra, last year.

Tempo.co reported the South Jakarta District Court ruled in favour of the Environment and Forestry Ministry’s civil action against PT National Sago Prima (NSP).

The fine was for the ecological damage and financial losses caused by the fire, the news portal reported.

The court also ordered NSP to restore some 3,000 hectares of the burnt forests at a total cost of 753 billion rupiah (RM231 million).

However, the court did not grant the Environment Ministry’s demand for foreclosure of the company.

This one trillion rupiah (RM329 million) total fine is the biggest penalty ever for a case of land and fire-burning, Tempo said.

In case of late payments, NSP will be charged with a penalty of 50 million rupiah per day.

The Environment Ministry’s dispute resolution director Jasmin Ragin Utomo said it was ready to face the company when it appeals the decision in a higher court.

Yesterday, Natural Resources and Environment Minister Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said Asean countries had unanimously agreed to adopt a road map which would ensure they are haze-free by 2020.

He also said Indonesian authorities had promised to deploy 3,000 military personnel to keep a look-out in areas most vulnerable to forest fires.