FMT LETTER: From Foon Weng Lian, via e-mail
The haze season has visited Malaysia again this year like an annual event. What makes this year’s event so special is that we have seen the actions taken by the related ministries in Singapore and the sense of urgency that they showed toward this problem.
In Singapore, you get hourly PSI reading, a 24-hour PSI haze forecast, free face masks from the government agencies, easily access and ample information and haze management tips and determined ministers.
Comparatively in Malaysia, we get 4 or 5 hours interval API readings (delayed somemore), related official websites that have no information on haze at all, crashed website, sky rocketing face mask prices and out-of-stock, limited information and wait-and-see attitude by the authorities.
Under the National Haze Action Plan, one of the actions is for the Malaysian Meteorological Department to carry out cloud seeding when the air pollution index exceeds 101 for more than 72 hours. The situation has been going on like this for almost a week and we have yet to see any effort to carry out cloud seeding.
DOE has issued a ban of open burning at the beginning of the event in three states. While it is a commendable action taken by DOE to curb further release of haze to the environment, such ban should be implemented throughout the country instead of three states only. Moreover, such ban must be done at all times instead of during emergency only.
Reports are showing that the current culprits for the haze are same as the ones in the 2005 and even 1997. We saw promises made by the previous ministers that they will penalise and take action against the culprits. It seems that all those promises were mere words only and washed down the drain once the haze ended.
Please stop the finger-pointing and childish statements and take immediate actions now to solve the issue. Enough is enough!