The Jakarta Post
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak and Indonesian President Joko Widodo agreed to set new standards to produce environmentally sustainable palm oil, while also strengthening cooperation to help prevent peatland and forest fires in Indonesia.
These commitments were the outcomes of a meeting between both governments on Sunday, October 11, following a joint water-bombing operation by Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia that took place in South Sumatera. The operation recorded as the largest water-bombing mission ever carried out in an Indonesian province.
During the meeting, both leaders agreed to establish a palm oil green economic zone to ensure a boost in the output of edible oil used for biofuel while also preventing illegal fires to clear land.
The officials would establish a joint task force to accelerate the implementation of their commitments, though without any specified timeframe.
'We know that 85 percent of global palm oil output comes from Indonesia and Malaysia. We will create a new global standard to produce sustainable palm oil,' the Indonesian leader told the reporters.
The intensified land and forest fires in Indonesia that resulted in spawning thick haze have affected widespread areas, including Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand. With the help of other countries, Joko Widodo aimed to put out the fires in about two weeks.
'Malaysia is prepared to increase our assistance in dousing the fires,' Najib Razak supported the plan, acknowledging the challenges the fires brought. During his stay, he also brought a team of experts to evaluate a canal-blocking system used in Indonesia to prevent fires on peatland.
Meanwhile, Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs Luhut Panjaitan addressed the problem that lay beyond the fire on the surface. He said that since the main challenge was the fire that still burning beneath the area, it needed an abundant amount of water to put out the fire completely.
The involvement of the directors and owners of plantation companies was also of great importance to tackle this annual problem, he said. Accordingly, Luhut summoned them by tomorrow on October 13 to discuss the plans on eradicating the fires. (+++)
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