JAKARTA: Indonesian vice-president Jusuf Kalla has said that the government will not allow its citizens who are suspected for causing last year’s forest fires to be prosecuted under Singapore laws.
“If there is an offence, Singapore can (prosecute), but the offence happened in Indonesia. That’s our concern,” said Mr Kalla on the sidelines of an event on Sunday (Jun 12), according to online news portal Detiknews.
Last month, Singapore’s National Environment Agency (NEA) said it has obtained a court warrant after the director of one of the Indonesian firms linked to illegal forest fires that caused the haze failed to turn up for an interview when he was in Singapore.
Indonesia objected against this move by lodging a strong protest through its ambassador in Singapore.
In September and October 2015, peatland fires caused the region to be cloaked in haze. Errant pulp and paper companies which started fires were believed to be responsible.
Singapore passed the Transboundary Haze Pollution Act (THPA) in 2014 to go after companies that started fires or let their concessions burn, and contributed to last year’s haze that blanketed Singapore and part of the region.
The Republic’s Foreign Affairs Ministry had said the THPA is consistent with international law, which allows a country to take appropriate action to protect itself from external acts which cause harm within the country.
It stated that the Act does not encroach upon the sovereignty of any specific country.
Singapore’s Environment and Water Resources Minister Masagos Zulkifli had promised that the government will “take what steps we can to enforce the THPA”.