In an interview with Tempo magazine, Indonesian Coordinating Minister for Politics, Law and Security Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan said that Singapore’s offer of only “one aricraft” to fight the raging forest fires was “insulting” to Indonesia. He also defended Indonesia’s lack of enthusiasm in putting out the fires and for its delay in accepting external help.
“During the dry season, peatlands tend to be very flammable. When we bombard the land with water to put out the flames, they just come out again. So I get a headache when people get upset. What are we supposed to do? Then someone asks why we didn’t accept the assistance offered earlier. There are many reasons for that. Firstly, we wanted to try and do it on our own. Secondly, we didn’t realise the process would be so long. Thirdly, Singapore offered only one aircraft. It was insulting.”
Mr Luhut’s statements were in contradiction to that of Indonesian Cabinet Secretary Pramono who revealed in an interview with CNN Indonesia (7 October 2015) that Indonesia had rejected’s Singapore’s offers of assistance because it was worried that Singapore would claim credit for solving the forest fires and haze problems.