Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto would take stern measures against companies that caused environmental damage, if he is elected president for the 2019-2024 term.

"If I am given the mandate to lead the government of the Republic of Indonesia, I will certainly enforce the law. Stern law enforcement is a must against companies that do not implement the regulation," Subianto said at the second round of presidential debate here on Sunday.

For decades, he said, large companies in many regions in the country have violated legal provisions and left the waste unmanaged. They did not pay tax that actually would be used to clean up waste, and be in collusion with officials to escape from their obligation.

"We want to get rid of environmental polluters," he said.

Prabowo also conveyed to tighten the requirements for environmental impacts assessment and there would be no short cuts to obtain the license.

"This is, again, a matter of commitment. I will uphold a clean government that will not be collusive with environmental polluters," he said.

If he is elected president for the 2019-2024 period, Prabowo would reorganize the Ministry of Environment and Forestry and separate it into Ministry of Environment and Ministry of Forestry.

The ministry of environment, according to him, must oversee the companies who run businesses especially in forestry sector, to prevent them from violating laws on environment.

Responding to Prabowo`s statement, incumbent president Joko Widodo (Jokowi) stated that his administration has sanctioned 11 companies involved in forest and land fires in Indonesia.

The total sanction amounted to Rp18.3 trillion.

According to Jokowi, the government has proven its efforts to overcome forest and peatland fires in the past three years by strengthening the law enforcement.

"In terms law enforcement, we are strict in (the fight against) environmental violations," Jokowi said.

He also stated that the current administration had begun to clean polluted rivers, including one in Citarum River of West Java.

Environment is part of the topics in this evening`s second debate held at the Sultan Hotel, in addition to infrastructure, energy and food.

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Reporting by Martha Herlinawati S./M. Razi Rahman
Editing by Yashinta Difa/Suharto

Reporter: Antara
Editor: Azizah Fitriyanti
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