Wan Junaidi: Malaysia ready to assist Indonesia to tackle haze problem


KUALA LUMPUR: The Natural Resources and Environment Ministry is seeking to meet its counterpart to raise the issue of cross-border haze affecting Indonesia.

Its Minister Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said the Malaysian government has a contingency plan in the event of a haze crisis and is prepared to give official help to put out forest fires in the republic.

"I have instructed the deputy secretary-general of the Department of Environment to make contact with the necessary ministries from Indonesia for a visit there," he told reporters during a press conference after the 12th National Water Resources Council meeting in Parliament on Wednesday.

Recently, Indonesia's Disaster Mitigation Agency warned of an increase in forest fire threats owing to the ongoing drought in the country that was expected to worsen.

It was reported some 72 hotspots have been detected in Aceh, resulting in haze there.

Wan Junaidi said based on the annual south-west monsoon wind, peninsular Malaysia and Singapore is expected to be affected by the haze if there is open burning in Riau or Jambi.

"If there is fire in the west, east and middle of Kalimantan, parts of Sabah and Sarawak will be affected. If it happens in Aceh, the haze could possibly occur in the northern parts of our country such as Penang, Perlis, Kedah and northern Perak," he said.

Wan Junaidi added that the Government will monitor the situation on a daily basis and said that Indonesia had taken quick measures to stop the open burning and kept to their promise of managing the problem.

"Their efforts to control the fire with the cooperation of their military police and local councils have been effective. We just want to officially inform them that we are concern and we have our team to assist them if they need any help," added Wan Junaidi.