KUALA LUMPUR: The plan taken by the Indonesian government to combat haze is deemed too long before the effectiveness is proven.
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi (pic) said on Sunday that while the Malaysian Government welcomed the move, a stronger commitment and measures were needed, as the results of the plan would take three years.
"We face this problem every year. There's always open burning.
"While we are grateful that the Indonesian government is doing what they can to solve the issue, we think the plan takes too long for us to see the effectiveness," he said at the launch of U-turn, a talkshow by TV Alhijrah and the Home Ministry.
Ahmad Zahid cited additional medical expenses have to be borne by Malaysians every year due to the haze.
"We already spent too much on medical expenses, especially for those with respiratory problems.
"There are measures being taken but so far, it's not enough," he said.
Ahmad Zahid said legal action against companies responsible for carrying out activities that contributed to forest burning was also included in the measures taken by both countries to fight the haze.
He said Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tunku Jaafar had also been sent to discuss with the Indonesian government on steps that needed to be taken to overcome the problem.
Last Tuesday, BBC reported Indonesian president Joko Widodo said he needed time to tackle the forest burning, and that his citizens were also victims of the haze that is affecting the region.
In the report, Joko said it would take three years for results to be seen from efforts to end the huge annual fires, as it is "not a problem that you can solve quickly".
It was also reported that more than 3,700 soldiers, nearly 8,000 police officers and four water-bombing planes in Indonesia have been deployed to put out the fires.