Malaysia is willing to assist Indonesia to battle forest fire

Sin Chew Daily/ ANN | 01 August 2017


Natural Resources and Environment Minister Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said Malaysia is ready to send fire fighters and officers to help Indonesia put out forest fire.

After launching the smart tunnel run 2017 today, he told media that the government is viewing forest fire in Indonesia seriously as it may spark off haze and the government is ready to offer assistance.

Junaidi said he has discussed with Sahidan Kassim who is in charge of the Fire Department and the Special Malaysia Disaster Assistance and Rescue Team (Smart) and the latter assured him that assistance can be extended to Indonesia.

Junaidi would be meeting with Riau and Jambi governors and plan to discuss with Aceh governor on assistance extended to Indonesia. Based on the air pollution index (API) released by Department of Environment (DOE), air quality remains at healthy level at the moment. No sign of haze caused by forest fire in Indonesia at the moment.

Malaysian Meteorological Department director-general Alui Bahari said wind in ASEAN would be blowing from south east or south west in the next few days. Wind direction does not have major changes at the moment.

In other words, haze would not deteriorate currently. Based on information from Meteorological department website, northern part of Peninsula Malaysia – areas in Kedah and Penang are expected to have heavy rainfall. The situation would remain till evening. It would have some form of impact to wipe out haze.

Up till 2 p.m., only API reading in Taiping, Perak remained at 56, which was slightly higher than safety level at reading of 50. In East Malaysia, API reading in Bintulu, Sarawak remained at medium level of 53.

API readings for 60 areas throughout Malaysia are safe as the reading remained lower than 50.

Earlier, Junaidi said if Malaysia were to experience haze, only northern states such as Penang, Kedah and Perlis would be affected.

Alui, in a phone interview with Sin Chew Daily, said the department looks after the weather forecast in the country while haze comes under DOE. He did not have more detailed forecast on haze situation in the country.

Alui believes that DOE has a set of procedures to counter haze.

Junaidi said forest fire in Sumatra and Kalimantan are not serious. Haze is not expected.

However, Sarawak may be affected due to direction of the wind as the state is a neighbor of Kalimantan, said Junaidi after attending a prayer session for the safe return of pilgrimage group to Sarawak.

He said five hotspots were detected in Sarawak earlier. However, fire had been put out. Hotspots were also detected in some areas in Johor and Kelantan.

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