Malaysia to carry out cloud seeding around airports affected by haze

Motorists travelling along a highway shrouded in haze in Kuala Lumpur on Sept 29, 2015.
Motorists travelling along a highway shrouded in haze in Kuala Lumpur on Sept 29, 2015.PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

PUTRAJAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Malaysia will carry out cloud seeding in areas where airports are badly affected by the haze to reduce flight delays, cancellations or redirections.

Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai said the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) would be working with the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry to conduct cloud seeding near identified airports. 

Among airports where activities had been affected due to the haze are Senai International Airport in Johor Baru, Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport in Subang and several airports in Sarawak.

"We are working on cloud seeding because we don't want further disruptions," he told reporters after attending a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday (Sept 30).

Datuk Seri Liow has also directed the DCA to submit a report on how the aviation sector is being affected by the haze.

The report will be presented to the Cabinet at its next meeting.

"The report will show how the haze is affecting us. We are compiling this so that we can inform Indonesia, which is working with us to resolve the problem," he said.

He said a circular had also been issued to port operators on safety concerns linked to the haze.

He noted that the Port Klang-based Westports Malaysia - which provides port and commercial sea transportation services in Malaysia - had cautioned smaller vessels not to operate if the visibility dropped to one nautical mile.

Datuk Seri Liow said that Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who chaired the Cabinet meeting, had briefed them on the situation and that the Government would be working with Indonesia on this.

"Indonesia has given us its commitment to act against those responsible for open burning," he added.

Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid said during a visit to Indonesia last month that the two countries had reached an agreement to have regional cooperation in tackling the haze.

Indonesia, on its part, agreed to tighten enforcement of laws. while Malaysia pledged to conduct monitoring to ensure that Malay­sian government-linked companies operating in Indonesia did not contribute to the problem.