Left Menu
Development News Edition

Malaysian PM to write to Indonesia's leader as row over haze flares

Reuters | Kuala Lumpur | Updated: 12-09-2019 15:13 IST | Created: 12-09-2019 14:38 IST
Malaysian PM to write to Indonesia's leader as row over haze flares
Image Credit: Wikimedia

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad is writing to Indonesia's leader to raise his concern about cross-border haze, Malaysia's environment minister said on Thursday, as a row over smoke from forest fires simmers. Fires have burnt through parts of Indonesia's Sumatra and Borneo islands for more than a month, and the Indonesian government has sent thousands of security personnel to try to douse the blazes. They are usually set during operations to clear land for palm oil and pulp plantations.

In what has become an almost annual occurrence, especially in dry years, Indonesia's neighbors are becoming alarmed by the thick haze wafting in and raising a concern about health and the impact on tourism. But Indonesian officials caused further anger in Malaysia this week by disputing reports that the smoke was coming from their country.

"I have discussed this with the prime minister and he has agreed to write a letter to President Jokowi to draw his attention towards the issue of transboundary haze," Malaysia's environment minister, Yeo Bee Yin, told reporters, referring to Indonesian President Joko Widodo by his nickname. Mahathir's office was preparing the letter and it would be delivered soon, Yeo said.

Indonesia's forestry minister, Siti Nurbaya Bakar, said on Wednesday the problem should be viewed "more objectively" and the smoke could have originated from fires in Malaysia. In response, Yeo said Malaysia's data was drawn from the ASEAN Specialised Meteorological Centre, a Singapore-based weather station that tracks forest fire "hotspots" throughout the region.

Just five hotspots were detected in Malaysia on Thursday, compared with more than 1,500 in Indonesia, Yeo said. "The data clearly shows that the haze is from Indonesia," she said.

Malaysia closed hundreds of schools and sent half a million face masks to its Borneo island state of Sarawak this week, after the smoke built up to unhealthy levels. The government had also prepared aircraft for cloud seeding in the hope of generating rain, Yeo said.

Several parts of Southeast Asia have endured unusually dry conditions in recent months including Indonesia, which has seen very little rain because of an El Nino weather pattern, its meteorological department has said. Thousands of Indonesians prayed for rain in haze-hit towns on the islands of Sumatra and Borneo on Wednesday.

Also Read: Indonesia pledges $40 bln to modernise Jakarta ahead of new capital - minister



South Africa's COVID-19 response: Surprising outcomes or just poor data management?

South Africa has been committed to improving its health information system and shows that a robust digital has considerable scope to improve healthcare for the entire population. But the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted that significant ga...

Post-COVID-19 Nigeria needs a robust Health Management Information System to handle high disease burden

Nigeria is among a few countries that conceptualised a health management information system HMIS in the early 90s but implementation has been a challenge till date. Besides COVID-19, the country has a huge burden of communicable and non-com...

Morocco COVID-19 response: A fragile health system and the deteriorating situation

Learning from its European neighbors, Morocco imposed drastic measures from the initial stages of the COVID-19 outbreak to try to contain its spread. The strategy worked for a few months but the cases have surged after mid-June. In this sit...

COVID-19: Argentina’s health system inefficiencies exaggerate flaws of health information system

You can recover from a drop in the GDP, but you cant recover from death, was the straightforward mindset of Argentinas President Alberto Fernndez and defined the countrys response to COVID-19. The South American nation imposed a strict...


Latest News

No clear link between school opening and COVID surge, study finds

Widespread reopening of schools after lockdowns and vacations is generally not linked to rising COVID-19 rates, a study of 191 countries has found, but lockdown closures will leave a 2020 pandemic learning debt of 300 billion missed school ...

WIDER IMAGE-Energy security and economic fears drive China's return to coal

Red coal trucks zip up and down narrow dirt tracks, churning up clouds of dust in Chinas remote Gansu province. Nearby, the towering stanchions of a new railway bridge rise out of a muddy river winding through the hills.The Huaneng Group, o...

Debate planners vow less chaos at next Trump-Biden face-off

U.S. presidential debate organizers vowed on Wednesday to change the rules to rein in unruly behavior after President Donald Trump repeatedly interrupted rival Joe Biden and the moderator in the candidates taunt-filled initial prime-time en...

Rockets land in Erbil hours after Iraqi PM pledges to protect diplomats

Iran-backed militias launched rockets targeting U.S. troops that landed near Erbil airport in the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Region of Iraq, a Kurdish security agency said on Wednesday, hours after Iraqs premier pledged to protect foreign mi...

Give Feedback