Malaysia thanks Indonesia for tackling forest fires, keeping haze away

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak (right) and Indonesian President Joko Widodo at the 12th Malaysia-Indonesia annual consultative meeting in Kuching, Sarawak, on Nov 22, 2017. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

JAKARTA (THE JAKARTA POST/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak has expressed his appreciation for Indonesia's efforts in tackling forest fires on Sumatra and Kalimantan and sparing the neighbouring country from air pollution.

Speaking during a joint press conference with President Joko Widodo before the 12th Malaysia-Indonesia annual consultative meeting in Kuching , Malaysia, Datuk Seri Najib said his country had not experienced haze for two years.

"Thank you for the serious attention from Indonesia. The weather is now fresh, enjoyable," Najib said, according to a press statement by the Presidential Palace on Wednesday (Nov 23).

Forest and land fires are perennial problems in Indonesia, with the latest fires in 2015 resulting in a choking haze blanketing numerous areas in Sumatra and Kalimantan, as well as Singapore and parts of Malaysia.

In October, the National Disaster Management Agency claimed that Indonesia had improved its capacity to deal with land and forest fires following the 2015 disaster. Activists, however, have warned officials in Jakarta against complacency, saying that more needs to be done to address forest fires.

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