News: Malaysia calls for immediate action by Indonesia

The Star, 25 Jun 2014

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia has called for immediate action by Indonesia to extinguish and prevent further land and forest fires in Central Sumatra, Indonesia, that were responsible for the cross border haze.

Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri G. Palanivel said the call was expressed to Indonesia in a letter written by Environment director general Datuk Halimah Hassan to her counterpart at the Environment Ministry in Indonesia.

“The letter was to express Malaysia’s concern about the increase in number of hotspots causing the haze in the peninsula since June 22,” he said in a statement on Tuesday.

He said the Singapore-based Asean Specialised Meteorological Centre (ASMC) had reported that the hotspots in Sumatra, Indonesia rose to 143 yesterday from 129 on Monday.

Aside from that, 25 local hotspots have been identified, in Pahang (12), Johor (4), Sarawak (3), Kedah (1), Kelantan (1), Melaka (1), Selangor (1), Perak (1) and Penang (1).

“The hotspots will be investigated, and appropriate action will be taken by the relevant authorities,” he said.

As at 9 am today, unhealthy air pollution index (API) readings were recorded in Putrajaya (112), Banting (108), Port Klang (107), Shah Alam (106), Cheras (106), Nilai (104), Petaling Jaya (103) and Batu Muda (103).

Palanivel said the API deterioration was influenced by the cross border haze fanned by the southwest monsoon and is expected to persist until September.

According to him, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration satellite images issued by the ASMC yesterday showed moderate haze drifting from burning areas in Riau, Central Sumatra towards the central region and southwest coast of Peninsular Malaysia.

Palanivel said the ministry through the environment department had taken various measures including banning of open burning since February to offset the impact compounded by the southwest monsoon and El Nino. – Bernama