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An Indonesian soldier sprays water to help extinguish a fire in the Kampar regency in Indonesia's Riau province on September 12. - AFP

KUALA LUMPUR: The subsidiaries of four major Malaysian-owned companies whose oil palm plantation lands had been sealed off by the Indonesian authorities are the most respected in the industry.

Malaysia’s Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok, who is currently in Ho Chi Minh to attend the Malaysia-Vietnam Palm Oil Trade Fair and Seminar, said checks by her ministry showed the alleged companies had adhered and adopted sustainable cultivation practices as required by several non-profit and certification organisations.

Kok, in a statement today, expressed her concern over the actions against the companies, which she described as "a very serious accusation" and that it will play right into the hands of anti-palm oil campaigners.

“From our records, the four named Malaysian companies are among the most respected oil palm cultivators.

“They have already prescribed to and adopted certified sustainable cultivation practices, let it be through MSPO (Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil certification), RSPO (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil), ISCC (International Sustainability and Carbon Certification) or a combination of these internationally recognised certification systems.

“Those familiar with the industry will vouch for the fact that an act of open burning such as the current accusations would result in the cessation of their certification status not only in Indonesia but throughout their operations including in Malaysia.

"Such actions would be rather counterproductive to their business status,” she said.

Malaysia’s Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok, who is currently in Ho Chi Minh to officiate at the opening of the Malaysia-Vietnam Palm Oil Trade Fair and Seminar, seeks to meet with her counterpart in Indonesia over the sealing off of Malaysian oil palm companies operating there.

Kok declined to comment further until her ministry had gained access to the full investigation report by Indonesia, over the matter.

“However, having reached out to the four concerned companies, I can state that they too will cooperate with the authorities to correct this accusation and put matters right quickly.

“Such action is also highly warranted since I remain concerned that the current accusation will play right into the hands of the anti-palm oil campaigners.

"Both Indonesia and Malaysia as major palm oil producers could end up as the ultimate losers,” Kok said, adding that she would also reach out to her Indonesian counterpart to resolve the matter amicably.

Reuters quoted Indonesia's Environment Minister Siti Nurbaya Bakar as saying that there were four Malaysian companies out of at least 30 companies whose palm oil plantations in Indonesia were sealed off due to the fires.

Siti Nurbaya reportedly named the firms as Sime Darby Plantation Bhd’s unit Sime Indo Agro based in West Kalimantan; IOI Corp Bhd’s unit Sukses Karya Sawit; and TDM Bhd’s unit Rafi Kamajaya Abadi.

In a separate report by, Siti Nurbaya had identified PT Adei Plantation and Industry, whose land in the Riau province has been sealed off. Kuala Lumpur Kepong Bhd (KLK) is the biggest shareholder in PT Adei.

The Indonesian authorities, said Siti Nurbaya, have already checked the business which burned the forest and that the firm is from Malaysia.

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