Wednesday, 11 December 2019

Mahathir to Write Jokowi about Transboundary Haze

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Laila Afifa

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  • TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad will write to President Joko Widodo or Jokowi about the haze generated by forest fires in Indonesia, which has reached Malaysian territory.

    "He has agreed to write a letter to President Jokowi to give attention to the transboundary haze," Malaysia's Minister of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Yeo Bee Yin said after meeting Mahathir, The Star reported on September 12.

    According to Yeo, the Malaysian government had held a meeting with representatives from the Indonesian Embassy in Malaysia regarding the latest status of the smoke problem in Indonesia.

    Yeo said that Malaysia had “received good cooperation” from Indonesian Embassy representatives over the matter, and added that Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya Bakar's denial that the smoke originated from Indonesia was probably because she did not monitor the Asean Specialised Meteorological Centre's (ASMC) data.

    According to Yeo, the website shows the latest smoke situation coming from Indonesia.

    On Wednesday, Minister Siti Nurbaya said that the smoke problem should be seen more objectively and that the smoke probably originated from Malaysia's own forest fires.

    Yeo said that asmc.asean.org hotspots in Kalimantan increased to 1,188 today from yesterday's 480. In Sumatra, there are 431 hotspots today.

    Meanwhile in Malaysia, only five hotspots were found; four in Sarawak and Sabah, and one in the peninsula.

    "The data clearly shows that the smoke originated from Indonesia," Yeo said as reported by Channel News Asia, September 12.

    "We are ready to put out fires in Malaysia and we hope that Indonesia will be responsible for their forest fires," Yeo remarked, adding that she hoped the Indonesian government will procure more devices to deal with forest fires in Kalimantan and Sumatera.

    Thick smoke caused hundreds of schools in Malaysia closed and half a million face masks were sent to Sarawak. In Selangor, 45,000 students from 29 schools were closed on Friday.

    Malaysia has mobilized aircraft to make artificial rain in hopes of clearing out the haze. 

    Maria Rita Hasugian