More information required from APP for investigations into haze-linked fires: NEA

Asia Pulp and Paper (APP), one of the Indonesian companies blamed for the record-breaking haze that affected Singapore in 2015, has not provided enough information to authorities investigating the fires.
Asia Pulp and Paper (APP), one of the Indonesian companies blamed for the record-breaking haze that affected Singapore in 2015, has not provided enough information to authorities investigating the fires.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

SINGAPORE - Asia Pulp and Paper (APP), one of the Indonesian companies blamed for the record-breaking haze that affected the Republic in 2015, has not provided enough information to Singapore authorities investigating the fires.

Under the Transboundary Haze Pollution Act - enacted to punish those responsible for causing or condoning fires if burning results in unhealthy levels of haze in Singapore - the National Environment Agency (NEA) had in September 2015 asked APP to submit more information on four of its suppliers.

They are: PT Bumi Andalas Permai, PT Bumi Mekar Hijau, PT Sebangun Bumi Andalas Woods Industries and PT Rimba Hutani Mas.

"The information provided by APP to date has been limited and more information is still being sought from them for NEA's investigations into these four companies," said a NEA spokesman in a statement on Thursday (March 2).

The four APP suppliers were also served Preventive Measures Notices by NEA under Section 9 of the Act, along with two other companies. The NEA had identified fires on concession lands associated with the six Indonesian companies.

 

NEA said the two other companies, PT Bumi Sriwijaya Sentosa and PT Wachyuni Mandira, have responded to the notices, saying they were no longer associated with the affected lands before the fires occurred in 2015.

"Following NEA's further investigation based on the information provided, NEA accepted these explanations and closed these two cases," said NEA.

However, the four APP suppliers have not responded to NEA's letters despite repeated reminders, said the NEA spokesman.

A director of one of these companies had been served with a Transboundary Haze Pollution Act Notice was to be interviewed by NEA when he was in Singapore. However, he failed to turn up for the interview.

The NEA has since obtained a court warrant to secure his attendance when he next enters Singapore. This means that if the director enters Singapore, he may be detained by NEA for investigations.

NEA will similarly seek to interview other directors of these companies if they enter Singapore, said the spokesman.