Malaysia: Kalimantan hotspots may not cause haze in Sarawak — Wan Junaidi

Borneo Post 6 Jul 16;

SIBU: Hotspots detected in Kalimantan, Indonesia may not cause the return of transboundary haze in Sarawak.

Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Dato Sri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said such haze usually only occurs when there are fire outbreaks in Indonesia.

“There are several hotspots detected in Kalimantan, which may affect Lundu, Bau and Kuching. But owing to only very few hotspots, the haze might not reach Sarawak,” he told The Borneo Post when contacted yesterday.

“Peninsula also the same, previously in 2015, fires were raging in Riau region but the hotspots seen now are widely distributed all over Sumatra. The smoky haze may not reach the Peninsula, not at that rate of hotspots.”

He was commenting on the possibility of transboundary haze occurring in the state or other parts of the country following the detection of several hotspots in Kalimantan by the Asean Specialised Meteorological Centre on Monday.

“We just hope that the Indonesian authority keeps its word when their ministers assured me during the meetings that I had with them in August 2015,” he added.

Wan Junaidi allays fears of severe haze this year
BERNAMA New Straits Times 7 Jul 16;

KUCHING: Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar today allayed fears of a severe transboundary haze occurring this year.

He said Indonesia, where the haze originated from land-clearing fires, seemed to be doing its part to honour its commitment to check the annual phenomenon.

So far, there were only a few hotspots in Sumatera and two in Kalimantan, he told reporters at his Aidilfitri open house here.

Wan Junaidi said Indonesian law allowed its 40 per cent of smallholders cultivating oil palm and trees for pulp and paper to conduct open burning on their farmlands of about two hectares each.

However, he believed that the haze would not be so serious this year as Indonesia faced a lot of pressure from Malaysia and Singapore which suffered the most from the phenomenon.

“Whatever it is, Indonesia is still going to be answerable to its neighbours based on the ASEAN Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution 2002,” he said.

Wan Junaidi also said that global warming was making weather conditions unpredictable.

“It is common, during the current hot season now, when there is rain, there are always thunderstorms with very strong winds.

We are going to see a lot more of these,” he said.

He advised all local councils and state governments to take the necessary precautions for the low-lying areas and ensure proper drainage to prevent flash floods from happening repeatedly. --BERNAMA

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