Don't talk only but act fast to combat haze, Asean leaders urged

Modified 13 Sep 2019, 8:58 am

Gerakan deputy president Oh Tong Keong has urged Asean countries to immediately implement a transboundary law to combat haze pollution.

He said Asean governments should speed up drafting the Transboundary Haze Pollution Law to control suspected burning in Indonesia or other Asean countries.

Oh reminded that Indonesia's Foreign Affairs Ministry had submitted the Asean Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution to the Asean secretariat on Jan 22, 2015.

"Asean leaders, do not talk only but implement the agreement as soon as possible," Oh said in a statement.

"Haze this year is more serious than the previous years.

" The air pollution index of some states in Malaysia has been rising, among which Sarawak is the most serious."

The cabinet had discussed ways to manage the ongoing haze situation with Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad saying he would write officially to the Indonesian government about it.

Indonesian Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya Bakar, however, said the haze in Malaysia was caused by its own forest fires, and has sealed a plot of land in Riau belonging to a Malaysian company for allegedly being involved in the fires.

In Penang, the haze continues to worsen with the Air Pollution Index (API) reading hitting an unhealthy level of 135 in Balik Pulau.

In the past few days, state assemblypersons have been distributing masks to schoolchildren, outdoor workers and the public.

Schools and sports organisations have been encouraged to stop all outdoor activities as well.

Oh said haze is a yearly occurrence but the government remains helpless.

He suggested that the Malaysian government lead the Asean countries to sign an agreement to jointly control burning activities.

"Do something soon to regulate burning activities of Malaysian companies in neighbouring countries."

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