Indonesia rejects Putrajaya's complaints of cross-border haze

KUALA LUMPUR (Sept 13): Indonesia today rejected Putrajaya’s complaints about health-impairing haze “drifting from its forest fires across the border”, reported Reuters.

The Indonesians say fires are also “raging” in Malaysian territory and on “Malaysian-owned plantations in Indonesia”.

It was reported yesterday that Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad will write to Indonesian President Joko Widodo as soon as possible regarding the transboundary haze issue.

Energy, Science, Technology, Environment, and Climate Change Minister Yeo Bee Yin said she has spoken to the prime minister regarding this matter.

“He has agreed to write to President Jokowi to bring his attention to this transboundary haze issue,” she yesterday.

Reuters reported today that Indonesia Environment Minister Siti Nurbaya Bakar “felt Malaysia had not painted an objective picture of the flames”.

She said “fires detected last week in the Malaysian state of Sarawak in Borneo and peninsular Malaysia also contributed to worsening air quality there”.

"I only asked that they [Malaysians] be objective and sequential in their data analysis," she added.

Meanwhile, the Selangor government has decided to conduct cloud seeding operations in haze affected areas with the Air Pollutant Index (API) reading exceeding 200.

Such readings meant the air is at very unhealthy levels.

State Environment, Green Technology, Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) and Consumer Affairs Committee chairman, Hee Loy Sian said the measure was agreed at the Selangor Economic Action Council (MTES) meeting yesterday.

He said the Disaster Management Committee at district and state levels have also been activated when the API recorded readings of between 151 to 200 which is the unhealthy level for more than 24 hours while the state government will be supplying dust masks to members of the public.

Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin was also reported to have said that the Malaysian Fire and Rescue Department is prepared to help Jakarta put out the forest fires in Indonesia.

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