Sime Darby denies plantation sealed off by Indonesian authorities

Sime Darby Plantation Berhad says it and its Indonesian subsidiary monitor all their operation sites throughout the year.

PETALING JAYA: Sime Darby Plantation Berhad (SDP) has denied a news report that a plantation owned by its subsidiary has been sealed off by Indonesian authorities as part of efforts to battle fires that have contributed to the haze in the region.

The company said that as of 4pm, there had not been any action taken by the Indonesian authorities to seal off the operations of PT Sime Indo Agro (PT SIA) for allegedly being involved in open burning.

PT SIA is part of the Minamas Group, a wholly-owned subsidiary of SDP in Indonesia.

SDP said it and its Indonesian subsidiary monitor all their operation sites throughout the year.

It clarified that a fire on Sept 3 occurred outside of the operational area of PT SIA, located on land occupied by local communities.

“This, however, had been contained and the incident was clarified to the visiting authorities from the Indonesian ministry of environment and forestry,” SDP said in a statement.

Earlier today, Reuters quoted Indonesia’s Environment Minister Siti Nurbaya Bakar as saying that her government has sealed off plantations operated by at least 30 companies, where fires had been spotted and brought criminal charges against four.

At least four palm oil companies whose land had been sealed off were subsidiaries of Malaysian groups, namely PT SIA; Sukses Karya Sawit, a unit of IOI Corporation; Rafi Kamajaya Abadi, a unit of TDM Bhd; and Riau-based Adei Plantation and Industry, a unit of Kuala Lumpur Kepong Group.

SDP said that its global business operations were strictly governed by its Zero Burning policy, which had been recognised by the United Nations Environment Programme.

“Besides maintaining fully equipped firefighting teams at all our estates, SDP also extends our Zero Burning policy to our neighbours that are within a 5km radius of our estates’ boundaries to help them monitor and put out any occurrence of fire,” it said.