PUTRAJAYA: The Cabinet today discussed ways to manage the ongoing haze situation that has blanketed several parts of the country, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (pix) said.

“We discussed ways how to reduce the haze,” he told the media when met at Binary University College’s 35th anniversary celebrations here last night.

Dr Mahathir was also asked about the statement by Indonesian Environment Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya Bakar, who said that the haze in Malaysia was caused by its own forest fires.

“That’s her comment, so we can’t say anything,” the premier said.

The country has been hit by haze since Sept 5, a situation that has been worsening by the day, to the extent that schools in Sarawak have been ordered to close temporarily.

According to a Department of Environment (DOE) statement today, the fires in Sumatera and Kalimantan, Indonesia were causing transboundary haze and the rise in the Air Pollutant Index (API) in the west coast of Peninsula Malaysia and western Sarawak.

Meanwhile, Dr Mahathir conveyed his condolences to the family of Indonesia’s third president Allahyarham Bacharuddin Jusuf Habibie or BJ Habibie, who passed away yesterday.

“He was my good friend, I am sad but he has been ill for some time,” Dr Mahathir said.

Dr Mahathir said he would not be able to pay his respects as he needed to attend another event tomorrow.

BJ Habibie died at the Gatot Sobroto Armed Forces Hospital in Jakarta due to various health problems faced.

BJ Habibie, 83, was the third Indonesian president, succeeding President Soeharto and held the post from May 21, 1998 to Oct 20, 1999. — Bernama