In a media interview with the press yesterday (Oct 21), Indonesia’s Coordinating Minister for politics, law and security Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan said that Singapore’s initial offer of one aircraft to help put out forest fire in Sumatra was insulting, which is why Indonesia has earlier declined Singapore’s offer.
As of Oct 10, Singapore has revised its offer and sent two C-130 aircrafts transporting 40 personnels and equipment from both SCDF and RSAF, a Chinook helicopter and a 5,000-litre heli-bucket to Palembang, Indonesia Sumatra.
Minister Luhut then expressed his reluctance to declare the haze as a national disaster because taxpayers should not be paying the bills to put out the fire set by the very wealthy private companies and land owners.
“Should the government be dousing fires all the time? If we call it a national disaster, they will benefit from it. They have 500 million pounds sterling in London banks, but they demand that we douse the flames.”
Minister Luhut also added that from next year onwards, his government will start confiscating lands and revoking licenses of companies which were indicted for the fires.
“If it happens again next year, we will confiscate all their lands, revoke their licences. Now they don’t dare do any funny business. They know I’m on their case.”