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Jakarta Post

Wanted: The punisher

  • The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Mon, August 15 2016   /  06:11 am

The devastating impacts of forest and peatland fires on humans last year went beyond our tolerance. Dozens were killed, more than 500,000 others suffered from respiratory infections and 43 million people across Indonesia and neighboring states had to brave smog, according to the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB).

With the fires recurring in Riau and Aceh, two of the regular hotspots in the country, last week, it is very much understandable that President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo would immediately call a Cabinet meeting on Friday, during which he repeated his order for law enforcers to do whatever it takes to ensure justice is served over the forest and land fires.

Missing from his opening statement on Friday was the intimidating threat he conveyed early this year to dismiss police and military commanders for failure to act against the fires, but it was already crys...