PETALING JAYA: Environment Minister Datuk Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man must get down to work in addressing critical issues, especially the seasonal trans-boundary haze problem, says Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye.
The Alliance for Safe Community chairman said the country has been plagued by haze for more than 20 years due to open burning and forest fires, including that of neighbouring countries.
"Depending on the wind change, Malaysia will face the brunt of it.
"I feel the minister should immediately initiate meetings with his counterparts from other countries, especially Indonesia, and see what sort of preventive measures can be implemented," he said when contacted on Monday (March 16).
With the spread of Covid-19, the last thing Malaysians need is another "haze season" by June, July or August, he added.
"If the virus is not curbed by then, imagine another haze problem emerging and how much people will suffer," he said.
Lee also called on the Tuan Ibrahim to discuss with ministry officials and environment experts to tackle the haze problem effective.
"Malaysia is a signatory of the Asean Agreement on Trans-boundary Haze Pollution in 2002.
"However, the haze problem has not been solved until now.
"I hope the government can use this agreement to rope in other countries in realising it is a grave matter and work cohesively in tackling it," he added.
Lee said another environmental issue that should be tackled is river pollution.
"For cases such as the Sungai Kim Kim incident, the previous ministry had implemented a rehabilitation programme, as well as setting up a pollution alert system for nearby schools.
"The new minister should be building on existing efforts and come up with improved efforts to ensure that such incidents can be prevented in the future," he said.