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Mestecc awaits go ahead from cabinet to draft Transboundary Haze Act

PETALING JAYA: The Ministry of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change (Mestecc) is waiting for the green light from the Cabinet to draft the Transboundary Haze Act.

Its minister, Yeo Bee Yin, said the matter had been discussed at a cabinet meeting yesterday and if the cabinet agreed, the ministry would immediately proceed to enact the Act as a long-term resolution in solving haze problems in the country.

“It (the Act) is to take action against Malaysian companies that have caused haze not only in Indonesia but elsewhere abroad,“ she told reporters after a briefing on the cloud-seeding operations (OPA) by the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) at its Subang base here.

Yeo said among the provisions that would be provided for in the law would be the power to have Malaysian-owned plantations that cause fires overseas to be tried in Malaysian courts.

“I will seek advice from the Attorney-General on how we can draft this act and what we can do to make it effective in addressing the haze problem,“ she said.

However, Yeo said even if laws were enacted, regional and international cooperation was still needed to resolve the transboundary haze issue.

She said communication between Asean countries was important, adding that she was seeking a telecommunication session with the Asean secretary-general to express Malaysia’s views for an effective mechanism at Asean level and to seek long-term solutions.

Meanwhile, she said the cloud seeding operation this morning was made possible due to favourable cloud conditions.

She said the exercise to produce rainfall artificially will provide some respite from the haze and dry weather in the northern states.

Yeo said if cloud conditions were favourable tomorrow there would be another cloud seeding operation to help improve air quality in Sarawak.

“The RMAF and the Meteorological Department are always ready to conduct cloud seeding operations, depending on the cloud conditions,“ she said, adding that cloud seeding was among the most feasible solutions in addition to the government’s commitment to finding long-term solutions to the haze issue.

Cloud seeding operations were held in Selangor, Negeri Sembilan and Malacca yesterday. As a result, rain was reported in Cheras, Bangsar, Petaling, Kuala Selangor, Hulu Langat, Klang, Gombak, Seremban, Tampin, Jelebu, Alor Gajah and Jasin.

As of noon today, six areas in Sarawak continued to see an increase in the Air Pollutant Index (API) reading with Mukah being the latest location to record a very unhealthy API. According to the Malaysian Air Pollution Index Management System (APIMS) portal, the API reading in Mukah rose to 208 from 197 at 8am.

An API between zero and 50 indicates good air quality; 51 and 100, moderate; 101 and 200, unhealthy; 201 and 300, very unhealthy and 300 and above, hazardous.

For the latest information on the haze and related matters, refer to the Bernama portal at www.bernama.com.

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