Who let the haze out?

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It has been over 20 years Malaysia that has been made to suffer from the haze originating from Indonesia due to land clearing.

We have been using diplomatic channels to solve this the Asean way.

But have we been successful?

If just across our border, should a company release toxic gas and few hundred Malaysians die, will Department of Environment (DOE) and Malaysian government keep quiet?

Similarly, this incident is industrial/agriculture pollution.

The Indonesian environment minister has named a few suspects and is investigating a few others.

It does not matter whether they are Malaysian-based companies or not, impose the Environment Quality Act (EQA) on them in full force.

Do not chicken out when Indonesia mentioned Malaysian-owned companies.

Those who are suffering are humans.

We in Malaysia have to increase our medical expenses for those with lung, heart and skin health complications.

What about other losses of income?

Who makes money and who is suffering? Imagine if the whole of next year is hazy, we can kiss goodbye to Visit Malaysia Year 2014.

The Malaysian government, businesses and members of public must claim for all the extra expenses incurred in healthcare, business losses due to haze and emergency situations, cost of cloud seeding chemicals, etc.

This is in line with the EQA.

These costs are on top of the fine that the suspects have to pay for breaking the law.

I would also encourage Singapore government to take similar action to bring these culprits to court.

If these companies and their bosses do not want to respect our law and courts, there are many forms of pressure that can be imposed, especially economic pressure.

If their palm oil products are banned, there is no economic benefit for them locally.

This can be extended via the United Nations for a worldwide ban on their products in international market.

We need to stand up and fight for our own country's sovereignty.

The two tigers in our coat of arms represent courage and strength.

We need to live up to that mark. We should not be slaves of unscrupulous businessmen.

PIARAPAKARAN S is president of the Association of Water and Energy Research Malaysia.

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