PUTRAJAYA (Sept 19): Malaysia never asked Indonesia why it did not accept its offer of assistance to combat the haze-causing forest fires in the republic, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today.
He said Malaysia had offered assistance to tackle the forest fires in Indonesia as it had water-bombing equipment.
When asked at a news conference why Indonesian President Joko Widodo, widely known as Jokowi, was not willing to accept Malaysia’s offer, Dr Mahathir said: "I don't know why.”
“Asking (Jokowi) why you do not want to receive our help? But I have never done that yet. Why don’t you ask (Jokowi)?” he said after chairing a meeting of the Special Cabinet Committee on Anti-Corruption, here.
Asked how Malaysia will check the haze problem, the prime minister said: “We pray for rain. We try to do cloud-seeding and ask people to wear masks.”
Asked about the cost involved in conducting cloud-seeding, Dr Mahathir said he had not received information on the cost.
“But we have a suggestion now to use drones to form artificial rain. We can use several (drones), not one, in a particular area with regard to Putrajaya which is badly affected by haze,” he said.
Haze from the forest fires in Indonesia's Sumatera and Kalimantan, carried to Malaysia by the Southwest Monsoon winds, has reduced the air quality in many areas of the country.