Friday 23 October 2015

Indonesia: Singapore’s one-plane offer to help fight fires ‘insulting’

TODAY, 21 Oct 2015

Singapore’s offer in September of only “one aircraft” to Indonesia to help fight forest fires that have caused thick haze to descend around the region was “insulting”, said Indonesian Coordinating Minister for Politics, Law and Security Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan.

Speaking in an interview last Friday (Oct 16) with the country’s Tempo magazine, Mr Luhut defended Indonesia’s perceived tardiness in putting out the fires and in accepting foreign aid.

“During the dry season, peatlands tend to be very flammable. When we bombard the land with water to put out the flames, they just come out again. So I get a headache when people get upset. What are we supposed to do?” he replied when asked why this year’s forest fires are worse than those of last year’s.

“Then someone asks why we didn’t accept the assistance offered earlier. There are many reasons for that. Firstly, we wanted to try and do it on our own. Secondly, we didn’t realise the process would be so long. Thirdly, Singapore offered only one aircraft. It was insulting.” - Indonesia's Coordinating Minister for Politics, Law and Security Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan hits out at Singapore's assistance in fighting the fires.
Posted by TODAY on Wednesday, October 21, 2015

In September, Singapore offered a C-130 aircraft for cloud-seeding operations, a Chinook helicopter with a water bucket for aerial fire-fighting, and up to two C-130 aircraft to ferry the Singapore Civil Defence Force fire-fighting assistance team.

Mr Luhut’s comments in the latest issue of the magazine came after Indonesia finally accepted help from Singapore on Oct 7 after repeatedly ­declining offers of help for weeks. Singapore Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen had even flown to Jakarta at the end of September to meet his Indonesian counterpart at one of the meetings. During his visit, Dr Ng also met Mr Luhut.

Singapore sent a Republic of Singapore Armed Forces (RSAF) Chinook helicopter with a 5,000-litre heli-bucket and 34 SAF personnel to help fight the ongoing forest fires, together with a six-man Disaster Assistance and Rescue Team from the Singapore Civil Defence Force. Two RSAF C-130 aircraft were also deployed to transport SAF and SCDF personnel.

In an interview on Oct 7, Indonesian Cabinet Secretary Pramono Anung told CNN Indonesia that Jakarta had earlier rejected Singapore’s offers of assistance because it was concerned that the city state would claim credit for solving the problem, despite being worried about the rapidly deteriorating situation.

In the Tempo interview, Mr Luhut also pledged to confiscate the land and revoke the licences of big companies that practise illegal burning next year.

“This haze problem is also about injustice. When a company controls 2.8 million hectares of land, where is the justice? Then there are those who own 600,000 hectares of land but own not a single fire extinguisher. Should the government be dousing fires all the time? If we call it a national disaster, they will benefit by it.”


"Insulting" that Singapore only offered one aircraft to help fight #haze-causing fires: Indonesian coordinating minister Luhut Pandjaitan
Posted by Channel NewsAsia Singapore on Wednesday, October 21, 2015

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The Singapore contingent comprising servicemen from the SAF and SCDF have been working hand-in-hand to assist Indonesia...
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Can someone please enlighten me on HOW TO DEAL WITH THESE GUYS???...
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Indonesian minister's remarks on aid offer 'taken out of context
By Wahyudi Soeriaatmadja, Indonesia Correspondent In Jakarta, The Straits Times, 23 Oct 2015

Comments by a senior Indonesian minister who reportedly called Singapore's offer to help fight fires in Sumatra "insulting" were taken out of context, a close aide said yesterday. "It was put out of context," said Mr Atmadji Sumarkidjo, referring to a report in Tempo magazine this week that quoted Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Luhut Pandjaitan.

In the report, presented in a question-and-answer format, Mr Luhut commented on the challenges of putting out peatland fires during this dry season.

But in an apparent reply to a question by Tempo on why the government initially turned down Singapore's offer of assistance, Mr Luhut was quoted as saying that one of the reasons was that Singapore "offered only one aircraft. It was insulting". - Indonesian VP Jusuf Kalla says other neighbouring countries should emulate the attitude of Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak on the #haze.
Posted by TODAY on Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The Indonesian publication could not be reached for comment, but Mr Atmadji said: "Menkopolhukam (Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs) himself is close to Singapore leaders, therefore they communicate well and he knows perfectly well that Singapore had sent over two Chinooks and a supporting Hercules (C-130) plane."

When the haze crisis peaked last month, Singapore offered an assistance package that included a C-130 military transport plane for cloud seeding, up to two C-130s to ferry a firefighting assistance team, as well as a CH-47D Chinook helicopter, which can haul a 5,000-litre water bucket for aerial firefighting.

"It was Menkopolhukam who had intensively communicated with Singapore, so they sent over their assistance," added Mr Atmadji. "We will continue to ask Singapore for assistance in the efforts to overcome the haze crisis."

#HAZE IN SOUTH-EAST ASIA: Here's a look at how the prevailing forest fires in Indonesia have affected the region. Infographic:
Posted by TODAY on Thursday, October 22, 2015

Heavy Smoke Blankets BorneoHeavy smoke continued to pour from peat fires in Borneo, Indonesia, when the Moderate...
Posted by NASA's Earth Observatory on Monday, October 19, 2015

The fires are spreading to new areas like Papua and are unlikely to be put out till next year, experts say.
Posted by The Jakarta Globe on Friday, October 23, 2015

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