Malaysia ready to help put out Indonesian forest fires

wan-junaidi-kebakaranKUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia is ready to send firefighters to Indonesia to help put out forest fires in the republic.

Natural Resources and Environment Minister Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said the government was seriously concerned about the problem which could cause haze and was ready to provide assistance at any time.

“I have discussed it with 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 today.

Recently, Indonesia’s Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) warned of an increase in forest fire threats due to the ongoing drought in the country that was 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 assurance that neighbours like Malaysia and Singapore would not be experiencing haze as it had already taken steps to halt forest fires.

Following his meeting with the governors of Riau and Jambi, Wan Junaidi said he was planning to meet with the governor of Acheh next to discuss the matter.

Earlier, Wan Junaidi had flagged off about 1,800 runners who took part in the SMART Tunnel Run 2017, organised by the natural resources and environment ministry through the Department of Irrigation and Drainage, which was held in conjunction with the 85th anniversary of the establishment of the department and the 10th anniversary of the operation of the SMART tunnel.

The 9.7km storm water management and road tunnel project (SMART), which opened in June 2007, is a dual-use tunnel aimed at mitigating floods in the federal capital by diverting 1.16 million cubic metres of waters in the event of continuous heavy rain for three hours, as well as to ease traffic congestion.