Malaysia says ready to deploy waterbomber to fight Sumatra fires amid recent haze

The Perdana Putra building is pictured shrouded in haze in Putrajaya August 16.
The Perdana Putra building is pictured shrouded in haze in Putrajaya August 16. PHOTO: THE MALAY MAIL
A helicopter from the Indonesian National Disaster Management agency drops water on a fire in Ogan Ilir, near Palembang, South Sumatra, Indonesia, August 11.
A helicopter from the Indonesian National Disaster Management agency drops water on a fire in Ogan Ilir, near Palembang, South Sumatra, Indonesia, August 11.PHOTO: REUTERS

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia has said it is ready to deploy its fire-fighting aerial waterbomber aircraft to Indonesia's Sumatra island to help put out forest fires, after the country saw a return of the haze last week.

"We are prepared to send our Bombardier aircraft to Sumatra to help put out the forest fires that have been responsible for the cross-border haze," the Malay Mail Online news website reported Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim as saying on Sunday (Aug 21).

He said the aircraft was also sent last year to aid in the fire-fighting efforts in Sumatra. Malaysia was currently awaiting for Indonesia's request for the deployment, he added. 

The use of the Bombardier aircraft would efficiently help to tackle the fires due to its ability to deliver massive quantities of water, he said. Malaysia is the only country in Asia which has the aircraft, the website reported.

Malaysia's Natural Resources and Environment Minister Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar last week said Malaysia was seeing a return of the haze despite Indonesia's swift action to combat the forest fires, The Star reported. Although the haze had not reached a critical stage, he said he would write a letter to Indonesia's Forestry and Environment Minister to inform Jakarta about the cross-boundary haze.

Some cities in the country had recorded moderate API (air pollutant index) readings last week, as a result of the forest fires in Sumatra and Kalimantan in Indonesia.

 

There were 24 areas that recorded moderate API readings on Monday, with 25 areas recording good readings.

The API reading for good air quality is below 50 while moderate is between 51 and 100.

The air quality is considered unhealthy if the reading is between 101 and 200.