Malaysia: No haze but expect floods this year - Wan Junaidi

The Star 8 May 17;

SUBANG: Malaysia will be haze-free this year due to the La Nina phenomenon, said Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar.

He said that recent Meteorological Department reports showed that the El Nino phenomenon - which brought extremely hot weather - would not occur this year, and Malaysia is expected to be free of cross border haze in 2017 because of this.

Wan Junaidi added that people living in low-lying areas need to be prepared following unpredictable heavy rain which may bring about floods this year due to the La Nina phenomenon.

He said that the Department's reports on rain distribution showed an unpredictable pattern with an unusually heavy downpour.

"It is raining every day, the situation is worrying, and it is feared the heavy rain could cause floods. As we are aware the El Nino effect is not strong this year, and the La Nina is taking place instead," he said.

Wan Junaidi said this to reporters after launching the second stage of the Hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFCs) Phase-Out Management Plan (HPMP) here.

It said there would not be abnormally hot weather as experienced in 2014 and 2015 which brought about the haze.

Meanwhile, Malaysia is targeting to reduce the usage of HCFCs by 35 per cent by 2020 in a effort to restore the ozone layer compared to 10 per cent in 2015.

Wan Junaidi said the second stage of HPMP would focus on technological change by using non HCFCs alternatives in the foam manufacturing sector and banned the consumption of HCFCs in fire extinguisher manufacturing.

The ban on HCFCs would give industries in Malaysia the opportunity to improve energy efficiency and expand the development of the green economy.

The plan is implemented by the Environment Department under the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry with the cooperation of the United Nations Development Programme.

HCFCs is an ozone destroying substance controlled under the Montreal Protocol on materials which thins the ozone layer.

The substance is mainly used as refrigerants and in the manufacturing of foam and solvent. - Bernama

No haze expected this year, but chances of flooding high: Wan Junaidi
TASNIM LOKMAN New Straits Times 8 May 17;

SUBANG JAYA: Experts agree that the chances for a recurrence of the haze are low this year, but concerns over flooding are rising as the country continues to experience unusually heavy and erratic rainfall.

Natural Resources and Environment Minister, Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar, said aside from assurances given by Indonesian authorities that Malaysia will not be affected by the haze, rainfall will also help ward off the annual problem.

He said the continuous rainfall being experienced in many parts of the country now will also combat air pollution.

"If you’ve noticed, it has been raining every day, everywhere now.

"(However), what worries me is that (the) El Nino (phenomenon) won't be so strong this year... (So) if there is too much rain, it may lead to flooding," he said during a press conference after launching the Hydroflurochlorocarbon Phase out Management Plan Stage 2 seminar here today.

Wan Junaidi said Indonesia changed its way of handling the haze in 2015, following diplomatic talks with Malaysia. Now, Jakarta does not need to wait for a province to declare a “state of emergency” before sending assistance to control forest fires.

"They have responded well to our concerns. They have given their assurance that there will be no fires that will (cause) haze," he added.

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