KLK denies illegal slash-and-burn activities

KUALA LUMPUR: PT Adei Plantations, a unit of Kuala Lumpur Kepong Bhd (KLK), maintained that it has never engaged in any illegal slash-and-burn activities at its estates.

Yesterday, a Reuters report quoted national police spokesman Ronny Franky Sompie stating that PT Adei is going to be charged with environmental damage.

An individual found guilty of starting a forest fire can  face a jail term of up to 10 years and fines of up to 10 billion rupiah (US$1 million). A company, found guilty by the courts, can also have its profits seized, operations shut down and be sued for damages.

It was reported that the Indonesian police are investigating four other companies for suspected involvement in the fires but have not identified them. Indonesia's environment ministry, last month, named eight Southeast Asian companies as possible suspects.

In response, KLK reiterated its earlier stand that claims that it is involved in irresponsible burning practices are totally unfounded. 

"We have no intention, no reason and no interest to clear any of our palm trees in PT Adei as they are mature and of prime age, and will remain highly productive for many, more years to come," KLK said.

On 25 June 2013 , PT Adei’s Nilo Complex was visited by Drs. H. Zulher, MS., the Kepala Dinas Perkebunan Propinsi Riau and his team, to investigate claims that PT Adei was involved in the use of illegal slash-and-burn method in its plantations.

Based on his findings and observation, he acknowledged that the claims were unfounded and noted that the fire was not in the estates of PT Adei.

He went on to say that the fire was started in an area which PT Adei had enclaved for conservation purposes, but which the community living in the vicinity of PT Adei’s estates was trying to clear for cultivation.

All along, KLK noted that PT Adei has been practising zero-burning policy. The fire was outside its concessions. PT Adei had, in fact, taken quick action to help douse the fire.

KLK and PT Adei remain committed, at all times, to co-operate with the relevant government bodies in their investigations into the source of the fires in Riau province.