Jokowi Revises Statement on Wildfire in Presidential Debate

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Markus Wisnu Murti

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  • President Joko Widodo or Jokowi during the second presidential debate at Sultan Hotel in Jakarta, Sunday, February 17. ANTARA/Akbar Nugroho Gumay

    President Joko Widodo or Jokowi during the second presidential debate at Sultan Hotel in Jakarta, Sunday, February 17. ANTARA/Akbar Nugroho Gumay

    TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - President Joko Widodo or Jokowi has revised his statement on zero case of wildfire for the past three years that he made in last night’s presidential debate. He explained that he meant to say the number of such cases had plummeted. 

    “I say that we could deal with wildfires for the past three years, it does not mean there was no case at all, but it nosedived by over 85 percent,” said Jokowi in Pandeglang, Banten, Monday, February 18. 

    Jokowi said during the past three years the impact of forest fires was less than that of the previous years, and that they did not disrupt flight schedules nor draw any protest from neighboring countries. 

     “It can be said that there is no complain from neighboring countries, from Singapore, Malaysia, for the past three years,” he added. The president also appealed to the public not to overreact to his statement. 

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    During last night’s debate, Jokowi claimed there had been no forest fire in Indonesia for the past three years under his government. “There was no forest fire, peatland fire, or wildfire. And that is attributable to everyone’s hard work,” he said at Sultan Hotel. 

    However, based on the Ministry of Environment and Forestry’s data, as quoted from the ministry’s website, throughout January to August 2018, a total of 194,757 hectares of Indonesian forest went up in flames. The figure climbed from last year’s 165,528 hectares. 

    However, the number of wildfire cases has indeed dwindled, with 438,363 hectares in 2016 and 2,611,411 hectares in 2015.

    “Why during the past three years we have been able to deal with forest fires, peatland fires? One of the factors is the strict law enforcement,” Jokowi remarked.

    AHMAD FAIZ IBNU SANI