Malaysia, Indonesia to discuss haze situation

Kuala Lumpur, Sep 21 (IANS) Malaysia and Indonesia are set to discuss the ongoing haze situation and to find long-term measures to combat the problem, an official said on Monday.

Malaysia’s Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi announced Natural Resources and Environment Minister Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar will leave for Jakarta on Friday to hold discussions with his Indonesian counterpart, The Malaysian Star reported.

“He will arrive in Jakarta on September 25 to hold further talks with Indonesia and other Asean partners,” he said.

Last Friday, Ahmad Zahid had said that Malaysia and Indonesia would implement long-term measures to resolve the cross-border haze problem.

The haze, which affects several countries in South-East Asia, is a recurring annual problem.

The main cause is said to be forest burning activities for the cultivation of oil palm and other crops in Indonesia, mainly in Sumatra and Kalimantan.

On Malaysia’s efforts to provide assistance, he said he would discuss the matter with Malaysia’s ambassador to Indone­sia Zahrain Mohamed Hashim as well as with student leaders.

The Indonesian government has sought to punish perpetrators of forest fires, particularly companies which have caused choking haze in the region, disturbed flights and led to severe economic losses.

Indonesia has been battered by such forest fires since the 1990s, as the ensuing haze shrouded neighbouring Asean countries and caused huge economic losses.

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