We are coming after you: Haze group to companies burning land

We are coming after you: Haze group to companies burning land

A volunteer group in Singapore wants to sue the companies involved in starting fires in Indonesia, and is looking for an "ideal plaintiff" and funds to do so.

Indonesia fire
File photo: Indonesian firefighters backed by police and military troops conduct an operation on a peatland clearing that was engulfed by fire near an industrial and residential area in Banjar Baru in southern Kalimantan province. (AFP Photo/Romeo Gacad)

SINGAPORE: A volunteer group called the Haze Elimination Action Team (HEAT) wants to sue and boycott the companies involved in starting fires in Indonesia - and put an end to the haze.

The group is led by Dr Ang Peng Hwa, a professor at Nanyang Technological University's Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information.

Speaking to Channel NewsAsia on Friday (Sep 25), Dr Ang said that they are looking to "identify an ideal plaintiff" to successfully sue these companies.

"Most of us have incurred some form of loss during the haze," said Dr Ang. "What we are looking for is someone or an organisation that has incurred losses of a few thousand dollars or more due the haze.

"An ideal plaintiff would be someone who has been hospitalised, for example," he said.

He cited hotels and tour agencies which had their bookings cancelled as other examples. He asked potential plaintiffs to keep their receipts and contact him privately. This person or company would not have to pay anything, he said.

The group is also looking for a lawyer with experience in corporate forensics, so that they can "trace the ownership pattern" of the fires.

They need to raise funds of S$50,000 to S$100,000 for the suit, and are looking to get pro bono legal help as well, Dr Ang said.

The group was formed in 2007 and has about 800 members from all walks of life ranging from housewives and students to working professionals. After haze levels reached hazardous levels in Singapore on Thursday (Sep 24), its Facebook page saw an increase of about 40 member requests.

"To the companies suspected of starting fires, we are coming after you," said Dr Ang.

Source: CNA/wl