"If forest fires happen because of (the activities of) the private sector, there will be no mercy (for the business actors), because as soon as a hotspot is detected (in the area owned by them), we will immediately give a warning (to them),” she said here on Wednesday.
Hence, if a fire truly breaks out, the owner of the land will certainly be punished, she informed at a press conference on the “Preparedness to Handle the 2023 Forest and Land Fires.”
She said that the implementation of such law enforcement efforts is the best way to prevent the fires.
According to the LHK Ministry, the total area affected by forest and land fires shrunk by 43 percent in 2022 compared to 2021.
The ministry said that the area burnt by such disasters covered 204,896 hectares in 2022; 358,864 hectares in 2021; 296,942 hectares in 2020; and 1.64 million hectares in 2019.
The Indonesian Government has taken firm action against many perpetrators of forest and land destruction.
Recently, the Environment and Forestry Ministry won a lawsuit against a business actor over land and forest fires, which damaged a 1,500 hectare-peatland in Karya Tani Village, Barambai Sub-district, Barito Kuala District, South Kalimantan Province, in September 2019.
The panel of judges said that PT Agri Bumi Sentosa (ABS) had been proven to have committed an unlawful act, which resulted in the fires, and hence, the company was obliged to pay material compensation of Rp160.69 billion and environmental restoration costs of Rp591.55 billion.
Since 2015, the Directorate General of Law Enforcement of the LHK Ministry has carried out 1,919 operations to secure environmental ecosystems and forest areas.
The ministry has also sanctioned 2,591 corporations and brought 1,348 criminal and civil cases to court.
Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs Mahfud MD asked corporations that have a business in forest management to jointly anticipate and handle forest and land fires in Indonesia.
"If something (a disaster) happens, the consequences or losses that arise will also befall the companies," he added.
Related news: BNPB prepares ground, air operations to prevent forest fires
Related news: President Jokowi orders to immediately extinguish forest fires