Malaysia to gather haze evidence before writing to Indonesia

Kuala Lumpur and other parts of Malaysia have been enveloped in a thick haze over the past few days.

PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia is gathering evidence on fires in Indonesia before Dr Mahathir Mohamad writes to Indonesian President Joko Widodo to complain about trans-boundary haze, the prime minister said today.

He said a long-term solution to the haze situation is not on the table yet because of a lack of cooperation from Indonesia and other countries.

“We have always wanted to have a long-term plan but it requires cooperation from other countries. So until we get this cooperation, it’s not possible for us to have any credible plan,” the prime minister told reporters.

Mahathir said he has yet to write a letter to Jokowi to draw his Indonesian counterpart’s attention on the haze, although a Cabinet minister has claimed that the prime minister would do so.

Raging fires in Sumatra and Kalimantan over the past month have led to cross-border haze. The Indonesian government has sent thousands of security personnel to douse the flames.

Reuters recently reported Indonesia’s Environment Minister Siti Nurbaya Bakar as saying that Malaysia had not painted an objective picture of the fires in her country which had led to haze in the region, as the fires were raging on Malaysian-owned plantations in Indonesia and Sarawak.

Mahathir said Malaysia needed evidence to counter Indonesia’s claim that the haze is coming from Malaysia. “So we have to identify whether it is coming from Malaysia or not (before I write to Jokowi),” he said.