June 13, 2016 / 4:50 AM / 3 years ago

Indonesians will not be prosecuted by Singapore over haze, says VP: media

A view of the city skyline shrouded by haze in Singapore March 31, 2016. REUTERS/Edgar Su

JAKARTA (Reuters) - Indonesia will not allow Singapore to prosecute its citizens over forest fires that blanketed the region in toxic smog in 2015, media on Monday quoted Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla as saying.

Singapore media said last week the city-state was planning to prosecute Indonesian polluters in Singapore courts under the Transboundary Haze Pollution Act.

Home to the world’s third-largest area of tropical forests, Indonesia has been criticized by green activists and by neighboring Southeast Asian nations for failing to stop the region’s annual “haze” caused by forest-clearing for palm and pulp plantations.

“The law that applies is in Indonesia,” Kalla told reporters as quoted by Detik.com media portal.

Palm oil is a major growth driver for Indonesia, the world’s biggest producer of the edible oil. Indonesia’s president pledged in April to tackle the fires by imposing a moratorium on expansion of plantations.

Reporting by Fergus Jensen; Editing by Nick Macfie

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