KUCHING, Sept 23: Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii is ‘appalled’ by the purported ignorance shown by Sarawak United Peoples’ Party about the continuous efforts and works by the federal government and its agencies in collaboration with the State Disaster Management Committee to address the current haze situation.
“The statement by SUPP’s (Youth secretary-general) Milton Foo claiming that there is no assistance for the haze in Sarawak from the federal government speaks not only of his ignorance of the whole thing and his deliberate attempt to mislead the people, but is also an insult to all the sacrifice and hard work put into by officers from the federal government and agencies which have worked hard since day one year after year to address this issue,” according to Dr Yii in a statement yesterday.
He pointed out, among the federal personnel and agencies involved are firefighters from the Fire and Rescue Department battling to put out peat fires all across Sarawak, officers from the Metereological Department (MetMalaysia) and Royal Malaysian Airforce (RMAF) who are mainly responsible for cloud-seeding efforts across the whole country, the Civil Defence Force (APAM), the National Disaster Management Agency (NADMA), the Royal Malaysia Police and the Ministry of Health.
According to Dr Yii, so far there have been four cloud-seeding operations that were carried out by MetMalaysia, RMAF, Kuching Water Board, NADMA and APAM with the most recent on Sept 20 covering areas around Kuching, Samarahan, Serian, Sri Aman, Betong, Sarawak, Sarikei, Kanowit, Mukah, and Lundu.
There have been more operations in Sarawak than other parts of Malaysia and all these efforts, including the cost of using the Bombardier CL-415 to put out peat fires from the sky which are mainly covered by the federal government, he added.
He also noted that the collaborative efforts between federal and state agencies have been effective, reducing API readings in some places especially Sri Aman where readings have decreased from over 400 on Sept 20, to 122 the following day.
Dr Yii highlighted that to properly address the haze issue over the long-term, the federal government is preparing stricter laws to be used against companies that do open burning and contribute to the haze. This includes consulting with the Attorney General’s Chambers in drafting a Transboundary Haze Act against open burning even in neighbouring countries.
An official tele-conference between the Secretary General of ASEAN in Jakarta has been arranged to put forward relevant laws to address this issue that could be enforced among all the member countries of ASEAN, he disclosed.
“We all play a part to take the necessary precautions during this season and also we send the highest appreciation to all the officers and government agencies, from the federal and the state for all their sacrifices and hard work to put their lives on the line to keep us safe and to better address this problem,” he concluded. — DayakDaily