The Institute for Criminal Justice Reform (ICJR) said the move by lawmakers to hold deliberations on the antiterrorism bill behind closed doors undermines the public's right to information. (Antara Photo/Sigid Kurniawan)

Lawmakers End Hearing on 2015 Forest Fires After Police Fail to Provide Answers


SEPTEMBER 27, 2016

Jakarta. Lawmakers concluded a hearing to discuss last year's forest fires earlier than expected on Tuesday (27/09), after the police were apparently unable to provide detailed explanations for the termination of the investigation.

The members of the House of Representatives' special committee on land and forest fires summoned Riau Police chief Brig. Gen. Supriyanto over the termination of investigations into 15 plantation companies for alleged land burning in the province last year.

Having taken up his current post only after the police terminated the investigation earlier this year, Supriyanto stopped short of citing a lack of evidence as the reason for the termination warrants.

The police could apparently not comply with lawmakers' demands to provide details of the warrants, after it was earlier concluded that there had been irregularities.

"There's nothing left for us to dig. We couldn't have the police chief further explain about the matter," committee member Arsul Sani told reporters after the hearing.

The police terminated their investigations earlier this year after receiving reports of the cases in September 2015, when Brig. Gen. Dolly Bambang Hermawan was still the regional police chief.

Arsul admitted that the committee was unaware of the change but said it had not made a mistake in summoning Supriyanto instead of his predecessor.

"We invited the police as an institution. If the current police chief could give answers in detail, we could have dug deeper. But when he couldn't do so, we should understand that," the lawmaker said.

Riau was among several provinces in Sumatra and Kalimantan that experienced land and forest fires last year.

The fires blanketed parts of the country as well neighboring states in choking haze.