Deputy minister moots Malaysia-Indonesia caucus to tackle haze

16 Oct 2019 / 15:02 H.

KUALA LUMPUR: A deputy minister today suggested for a joint caucus between the Malaysian and Indonesian parliaments to solve the transboundary haze problems.

Deputy Primary Industries Minister Datuk Seri Shamsul Iskandar Mohd Akin said the government will be chairing the Council of Palm Oil Producing Countries (CPOPC) soon and so far Indonesia has expressed commitment to ensure that the production of palm oil was done in a sustainable manner.

“We should establish a joint caucus between the members of the Indonesian and Malaysian parliaments to find a solution to the haze problem as a joint initiative. The issue of transboundary haze will also be raised during the CPOPC,” he said.

Shamsul Iskandar made his suggestion in reply to an additional question by Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri (BN-Batang Sadong) who asked about the government’s efforts to resolve the annual haze problem.

He added that Malaysian companies did not conduct any open burning practices in Indonesia that caused the recent haze.

Instead, he said those responsible for the activity were Indonesian smallholders near Malaysian oil palm estates.

Shamsul Iskandar, who did not name the Malaysian companies, said they adhered to the standards of the Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil certification, the Indonesian Sustainable Palm Oil (ISPO) certification, as well as the Roundtable Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) certification – which were all internationally recognised.

“If it is proven that these companies were involved in open burning, action can be taken against them under local laws,” he said.

He was responding to Willie Anak Mongin (PH-Puncak Borneo), who asked the ministry to state whether any Malaysian palm oil companies were involved in the forest fires in Kalimantan and Sumatra, Indonesia.

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