Wan Junaidi meets Indonesian counterpart to discuss haze situation

  • Nation
  • Tuesday, 27 Oct 2015

PUTRAJAYA: After several postponements, Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar finally met his Indonesian counterpart to discuss the regional haze situation.

In the 9pm meeting Tuesday, Dr Wan Junaidi spoke with Indonesian Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya Bakar on the haze problems in Malaysia, a result of forest burning in the republic.

As of press time, the outcome of the meeting could not be obtained, but it is understood that Dr Wan Junaidi had planned to brief Siti Nurbaya on the haze situation in Malaysia.

Siti Nurbaya is expected to be informed of the haze situation in the country, including the number of school closures it caused.

The meeting also discussed what sort of assistance Malaysia can provide to Indonesia to help combat the forest fires, which included sending the country's firemen across the border.

It is learnt that Dr Wan Junaidi also proposed the usage of tube wells in peat soils, which provides moisture to soil and roots, thus reducing the chances of fire.

The tube well system has been used in Malaysian peatlands and has somewhat managed to control the level of forest fires in the country.

The ministerial-level meeting between Dr Wan Junaidi and Siti Nurbaya had been called off three times before this, due to the bad haze situation in Jakarta.

Also part of Dr Wan Junaidi's delegation yesterday was Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor and Malaysian ambassador to Indonesia Datuk Seri Zahrain Hashim.

Besides discussing how to manage the forest fires, the two parties were also supposed to discuss the content of a memorandum of understanding between the two countries on trans-boundary haze.

The MoU, which is to be signed before year's end, will focus on the enforcement of laws, zero-burning practices in Indonesia peat soil management and collaboration between the two countries when fire breaks out.

Dr Wan Junaidi is scheduled to fly to Hanoi in Vietnam Wednesday, to also discuss on trans-boundary haze with the Vietnamese government.

Raging forest fires in the Sumatra and Kalimantan region have caused neighbouring countries in Malaysia and Singapore to be shrouded in haze over the past few months.

The haze has become an annual fixture in this region over the past decade, especially during the dry season.

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