Haze MoU discontinued, says minister

11 May 2016 / 21:52 H.

    PUTRAJAYA: The memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Malaysia and Sumatra province to tackle the perennial transboundary haze issues that was signed before would not be implemented, instead the problem would be addressed through government-to-government (G2G) cooperation, Bernama reported.
    Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said the ministry had accepted Indonesia's explanation to discontinue the MoU because it seemed to be ineffective, as tackling the haze problems not only required cooperation from the local government in Sumatra but also from the Indonesian government.
    As such, he said a technical meeting would be held on May 30 in Indonesia to discuss the instruments needed under G2G to tackle the transboundary haze problems.
    In the meantime, Wan Junaidi said the Sub-Regional Ministerial Steering Committee (MSC) on Transboundary Haze Pollution meeting held today in Singapore had agreed with Malaysia's proposal to conduct a study to assess the impact of the 2015 haze on the South-East Asian region.
    He said the Asean Secretariat had been tasked to collect the relevant data from each member country to identify the impact of the haze on the economy, health and social activities.
    Wan Junaidi said he had also informed the matter in the cabinet meeting today and all ministries or agencies affected by the haze had been asked to provide the data or information needed for further action.
    "We hope that all the data and information can be collected as soon as possible, which will be submitted to the secretariat and presented to Indonesia," he said.
    "So, the framework and methodology on this will be discussed and will be brought up during the technical meeting and regional ministerial meeting in Kuala Lumpur soon," he told reporters during a press conference today.
    Wan Junaidi added that Indonesia has launched its Plan of Action in dealing with Transboundary Haze Pollution to improve coordination between the central and provincial governments in handling peat and forest fires.
    Meanwhile, he said Malaysia is expected to be hit by the haze once again next month as Sumatra and Kalimantan in Indonesia will experience a hot and dry spell between June and September.
    Wan Junaidi said this was predicted by the Asean Specialised Meteorological Centre (ASMC) during the latest Sub-Regional Ministerial Steering Committee (MSC) On Transboundary Haze Pollution in Singapore on May 4.
    "But during this time, the La Nina phenomena will happen, bringing the rain to our shores," he said, expressing hope that the rain would "soften the impact" of the haze.
    However, he cautioned that the La Nina phenomena would also possibly cause floods in Terengganu and Kelantan like the east coast floods of 2014.
    Wan Junaidi said that the government, through the National Security Council, is prepared to face any flood situation which could happen during the rainy season later this year.


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