Malaysia to discuss haze issue with Indonesia

A man persevering with his fishing despite the poor visibility near North Port, in Port Klang, on Tuesday afternoon.
A man persevering with his fishing despite the poor visibility near North Port, in Port Klang, on Tuesday afternoon.PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

PETALING JAYA • Malaysia's Natural Resources and Environment Minister, Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar, is to meet his Indonesian counterpart to tackle the issue of transboundary haze.

Parts of Malaysia, especially in Sarawak where haze has been recurring, have been affected by the pollution from open burning in Indonesia, which is leading to an increase in the number of hotspots in Sumatra and Kalimantan, The Star reported.

In a statement, Dr Wan Junaidi said the meeting would include negotiations to accelerate a memorandum of understanding on a bilateral prevention programme on transboundary haze pollution.

He did not indicate when the meeting will take place.

The Department of Environment had written to the Indonesian Ministry of Environment and Forestry on Monday to express Malaysia's concerns, urging Indonesia to do more to tackle these fires.

Air quality had improved slightly as of 5pm yesterday. The Air Pollutant Index (API) recorded good and moderate air quality in all areas, but readings in parts of Kedah, Perak, Penang, Sarawak, Selangor and Kuala Lumpur hovered close to the unhealthy level.

An API reading between 51 and 100 is considered moderate while a reading between 101 and 200 indicates unhealthy air quality.

Yesterday morning, the Palembang city in South Sumatra province reported visibility as low as 400m, its worst level this year, news portal Tempo reported.

Malaysia's Natural Resources and Environment Board has banned all open burning activities until a re-evaluation is carried out, pending applications for open burning.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 27, 2015, with the headline 'Malaysia to discuss haze issue with Indonesia'. Print Edition | Subscribe