Malaysian firm probed over haze

AFP-JIJI

In Southeast Asia’s worst pollution crisis in years, Indonesian police are investigating a Malaysian company over forest fires that contributed to choking haze last month.

Police said fires were found burning in the palm oil concession of Malaysian company Kuala Lumpur Kepong Bhd held by its Indonesian subsidiary, Adei Plantation and Industry.

“On Sunday, the national police decided to treat members of Adei as suspects, as we found evidence fires were burning in the companies concession area,” a police spokesman said.

The Malaysian firm operates in Indonesian and Malaysia, producing 3.3 million tons of palm oil a year, according to its website, and one arm of the company also manufactures palm oil products.

The smog crosses the seas from Sumatra every year but hit record levels of pollution last month. As fires blazed on parts of Indonesia’s Sumatra Island for days and angered those in smog-covered Singapore and Malaysia in June, some Indonesian officials lashed back, suggesting firms from those countries were to blame.