Malaysia ready to assist Indonesia battle its forest fires: Wan Junaidi

Bernama New Straits Times 31 Jul 17;

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia is ready to send firefighters to Indonesia to help put out forest fires in the republic.

Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said the government is seriously concerned about the problem which could cause haze, and is poised to provide assistance at any time.

“I have discussed (the matter) with Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim, who is in charge of the Fire Department and the Special Malaysia Disaster Assistance and Rescue Team (Smart) and he has given the assurance that they are ready at any time,” he told reporters when met at the Smart Tunnel Run 2017 here yesterday.

Indonesia’s Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) recently warned of an increase in forest fire threats due to the ongoing drought in the country that is expected to worsen, but some hots pots have already been detected in Aceh, causing the area to experience haze.

However, the Indonesian Peat Soil Recovery Agency has reportedly given its assurance that neighbours like Malaysia and Singapore would not be experiencing haze, as it has already taken steps to halt forest fires.

Following his meeting with the governors of Riau and Jambi, Wan Junaidi said he is planning to meet with the governor of Aceh next, to discuss the matter. — BERNAMA

Wan Junaidi: Malaysia ready to assist Indonesia to tackle haze problem
RAHIMY RAHIM The Star 2 Aug 17;

KUALA LUMPUR: The Natural Resources and Environment Ministry is seeking to meet its counterpart to raise the issue of cross-border haze affecting Indonesia.

Its Minister Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said the Malaysian government has a contingency plan in the event of a haze crisis and is prepared to give official help to put out forest fires in the republic.

"I have instructed the deputy secretary-general of the Department of Environment to make contact with the necessary ministries from Indonesia for a visit there," he told reporters during a press conference after the 12th National Water Resources Council meeting in Parliament on Wednesday.

Recently, Indonesia's Disaster Mitigation Agency warned of an increase in forest fire threats owing to the ongoing drought in the country that was expected to worsen.

It was reported some 72 hotspots have been detected in Aceh, resulting in haze there.

Wan Junaidi said based on the annual south-west monsoon wind, peninsular Malaysia and Singapore is expected to be affected by the haze if there is open burning in Riau or Jambi.

"If there is fire in the west, east and middle of Kalimantan, parts of Sabah and Sarawak will be affected. If it happens in Aceh, the haze could possibly occur in the northern parts of our country such as Penang, Perlis, Kedah and northern Perak," he said.

Wan Junaidi added that the Government will monitor the situation on a daily basis and said that Indonesia had taken quick measures to stop the open burning and kept to their promise of managing the problem.

"Their efforts to control the fire with the cooperation of their military police and local councils have been effective. We just want to officially inform them that we are concern and we have our team to assist them if they need any help," added Wan Junaidi.

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