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The Indonesian government sealed off more plantations involved in open burning that has caused the worsening haze in the region and vowed to pursue criminal charges against firms involved in open burning, on Saturday (14 Sept).

The Indonesian Government warned that the executives of errant companies could be jailed under criminal law, besides being fined or have its profits seized. Errant firms could also have their operational permits revoked and could be forced to pay compensation for the burning and restoration of ravaged areas.

Indonesia’s Environment and Forestry Ministry has since sealed off plantations covering more than 6,000ha, operated by 42 companies whose concessions were affected by fires. Some of the companies whose plantations were sealed off include subsidiaries of Malaysian groups.

One of the companies whose plantations were sealed off is an Indonesian company owned by a Singapore-based firm. The Singapore-based firm, Sampoerna Agri Resources Pte Ltd, is headquartered at Haw Par Center along Clemenceau Avenue, according to Bloomberg data.

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Singapore-based Sampoerna Agri Resources Pte Ltd is owned by the Indonesian Putera Sampoerna family – the family who built the Sampoerna cigarette empire. In 2005, Mr Putera Sampoerna – the third-generation heir to the empire – sold 95 percent share in their business to tobacco giant Philip Morris for US$1.4 billion.

Today, the Putera Sampoerna family maintain investments in agriculture, finance, telecom and timber. One of the group’s key assets are the palm oil plantations they operate in Indonesia through their PT Sampoerna Agro Tbk subsidiary.

According to information available on LinkedIn, PT Sampoerna Agro Tbk and its subsidiaries is one of the leading producers of palm oil and palm kernel in Indonesia and one of the few palm oil seed producers in the country.

At the end of 2018, Forbes listed Mr Putera Sampoerna and his family as the 13th richest in Indonesia with a net worth of US$1.75 billion. -/TISG

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