The Star, 24 Jun 2013
JAKARTA: President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has apologised for the haze that had blanketed Singapore and Malaysia in recent days and continues to remain a threat in coming days.
“For what has happened, as President, I say sorry and seek the understanding of our relatives in Singapore and Malaysia,” he said.
“Indonesia had no intention to cause this. And we will continue to bear responsibility to overcome what has happened,” he said in a televised press conference at his office on Monday evening.
Dr Yudhoyono’s comments came as Indonesia stepped up its response to the haze with forest fires in Riau continuing to spread, amid efforts to control them by cloud-seeding and water-bombing, and after some of his ministers had hit out at neighbouring countries’ reactions to the haze.
“There are statements from several office-holders that I feel need not be put across that way,” he said.
“Sometimes the facts have not been checked, and that becomes an issue. This has become a concern from Singapore and also Malaysia,” he added.
“There are statements that contradict one another. I have instructed officers that there is no need to give statements like these.”
“If there are companies at fault whether they are from Indonesia, or foreign companies, there’s no need to say that,” he added.
“What is needed is to focus all efforts on overcoming the haze and burning. Enforcement action will continue we leave that to police and the authorities. There is no need to discriminate.”
“Whether it is an Indonesian company or foreign company, the law will be applied firmly and fairly,” he said. – The Straits Times/ANN