Malaysia to help Indonesia check smog during SEA Games

Wan-Junaidi-smogKUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia said yesterday it is ready to render assistance to extinguish forest fires in Indonesia to check any cross-border smog in view of the SEA Games Kuala Lumpur is hosting later this month.

Natural Resources and Environment Minister Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said he would meet the relevant Indonesian minister to convey Malaysia’s offer of assistance.

“I have instructed the ministry deputy secretary-general to go to Indonesia and convey the matter to the Indonesian minister. I will try to meet the minister before the start of the SEA Games,” he said to reporters after attending the 12th meeting of the National Water Resources Council here.

The SEA Games proper is scheduled from Aug 19 to 30. Wan Junaidi said forests set on fire to clear land for planting had begun in the Aceh province in Indonesia but the smog had yet to develop. He expressed satisfaction with Indonesia’s commitment to control the fires.

The minister said he received daily reports on the hotspots in Indonesia and there was no indication as yet on the need for worry.

“Today’s report indicated 27 fires in Kalimantan, and the south-westerly winds could bring the haze to Sarawak.

“However, the report also said that the hotspots were reducing because Indonesia has managed to control the fires,” he said.