Kuala Lumpur, 13 September 2019 - With reference to a news report by Reuters entitled ‘Indonesia hits back at Malaysia over forest fires’ dated 13th September 2019, Sime Darby Plantation Berhad (SDP) would like to clarify that as at 4.00pm (GMT +8) today, 13 September 2019, there has not been any action taken by the Indonesian Authorities to seal off the operations of PT Sime Indo Agro (PT SIA) due to fire occurrence. PT SIA is part of the Minamas Group, a wholly subsidiary of SDP in Indonesia. SDP, assisted by its Indonesian subsidiary, continuously monitors all its operation sites throughout the year. SDP would like to further clarify that the recent fire incident which occurred on 3 September 2019 outside of the operational area of PT SIA was in fact located in lands 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 would like to reiterate that its global business operations is strictly governed by its Zero Burning policy. The Zero-Burning Replanting Technique, a pioneering initiative by the Company that was commercialised in 1985, was accorded a recognition in 1992 by the United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNEP) Global 500 Roll of Honour and is today, the palm oil industry’s gold standard practice in oil palm replanting.
Besides maintaining fully equipped firefighting teams at all our estates, SDP also extends our Zero-burning policy to our neighbours that are within 5km radius of our estates’ boundaries to help them monitor and put out any occurrence of fire. The Company also engages the neighbouring local communities in Indonesia to help them set up their own fire prevention initiative, otherwise known as ‘Masyarakat Peduli Api’ (MPA), to increase the local communities’ participation in monitoring and preventing fires.
In 2015, SDP intensified its efforts to encourage the involvement of local communities in the Zero-burning initiative with its ‘Sustainable Community-based Fire Prevention Programme’. This programme was implemented in partnership with local universities to educate local communities in fire-prone villages around our operations about sustainable agricultural practices. To date, the programme has covered 19 villages or about 40,000ha of areas surrounding our operations in Sumatera and South Kalimantan.
Any hotspots or fire occurrences in SDP’s area of operations are also being monitored constantly using satellite monitoring system. Members of the public are able to access these information by using SDP’s online Hotspot Dashboard available at our website: www.simedarbyplantation.com