Were only fighting fires of past sinners: Luhut defends govt's palm oil support - National

Coordinating Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan has rebuffed claims that he and the government were not paying attention to the deforestation and forest fires caused by oil palm plantations.

He said he was also worried about their environmental impacts on younger generations, but he claimed the government was struggling to make progress since the land concessions for the plantations, some of which were on fire-prone peatlands, had been given out by past governments.  

“We’re just fighting fires [created by] past sinners,” he said during a press conference at his office in Central Jakarta on Friday, as quoted by tempo.co.  

Luhut reiterated his derision for environmental group Greenpeace Indonesia, which had disrupted the operations of a tanker carrying palm oil belonging to the Wilmar trading company in the Bay of Cadiz near Spain, saying that the government has every right to question the local chapter of an international group.   

Read also: Six activists detained for staging rally on board palm oil tanker

However, he denied allegations that the government had not done anything to achieve a sustainable palm oil industry. The government, he said, would next year release its One Map, an integrated map recording land ownership all across the country.

“Those who make noise now will later be proven to have four or five properties,” said Luhut. “Those who claim to be poor cannot hide that they have land everywhere.”

He said the map would also reveal the oper....

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