Malaysia minister to visit Indonesia on forest fire before SEA Games

Sin Chew Daily/ANN Jakarta Post 3 Aug 17;

Natural Resources and Environment Minister Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafaar said he would try his best to visit Indonesia before the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games to express Malaysia’s intention to send the Special Malaysia Disaster Assistance and Rescue Team (SMART), bombardier plane and firemen to help with resolving forest fire.

“Our request is as soon as possible. If we can go tomorrow, I will go but we have to seek permission from Indonesian side first,” he said in a press conference after the 12th national water resource committee meeting.

On whether the haze would affect SEA Games starting from August 19, Wan Junaid said he has instructed deputy secretary-general of the ministry to arrange for officers to visit their counterpart in Indonesia. As the forest fire situation come under two ministries – Environment and Forestry as well as Politics, Law and Security Ministers, this required longer time for arrangement.

He said the forest fire in Indonesia has actually improved. Four days ago Aceh had 72 hotspots but the area is without hotspot now. This showed that effort to put out fire in Indonesia had been effective. It had also fulfilled its promise of resolving haze issue.

Wan Junaidi said he had instructed officers to brief him on haze condition, direction of wind and the updated report from Indonesia on forest fire each day at 7:30 a.m. starting four days ago.

“I am of the view that we should not be worried about the haze currently. Although the monsoon wind is blowing from southwest, if forest fire take place in Riau and Jami, Peninsula Malaysia and Singapore would be affected. If forest fire take place in western, middle and eastern parts of Kalimantan, then Sarawak would be affected.

“Currently we are monitoring forest fire in Aceh. Based on the direction of the wind, only northern part of the Peninsula Malaysia – Penang, Perlis, Kedah and northern part of Perak as well as Thailand would be affected.

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