Indonesia cannot deny transboundary haze affects Sarawak – Deputy Minister

Dr Hazland speaks to the press at Borneo Cultures Museum, Kuching on Oct 3, 2023.

By Shikin Louis

KUCHING, Oct 3: The Indonesian government cannot deny the existence of transboundary haze reaching Malaysia when it has already happened in Sri Aman and Serian, says Dr Hazland Abang Hipni.

The Sarawak’s Deputy Minister of Energy and Environmental Sustainability (MEESty) said during the period from Sept 20 to 28 this year, there were four haze hotspots detected in Sarawak based on a report from ASEAN Specialised Meteorological Centre (ASMC).

“For that period, Sarawak only recorded four hotspots while in Kalimantan, there were 2,203 hotspots.

“This is the data from ASMC which represents ASEAN, not Malaysia. So how can you deny (transboundary haze) when it is already there and reported?” he stressed when met by reporters at Borneo Cultures Museum here today.

He was responding to Indonesian Minister of Environment and Forestry (KLHK) Siti Nurbaya Bakar who denied the allegations regarding haze from forest and land fires (karhutla) in Indonesia crossing into Malaysia and Singapore.

In a report by The Star yesterday (Oct 2), Siti Nurbaya said her ministry received reports of haze distribution imagery from the Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) and ASMC for the period from Sept 28 to 30, up until Oct 1 at 16:00 WIB (Western Indonesian Time).

According to her, there is no transboundary haze from Indonesia crossing into Malaysia.

Based on ASMC’s observations, she said that for several days, haze was moderately to densely observed in several areas in Sumatra and Kalimantan.

Dr Hazland further said the Sarawak government has stopped approving permits for open burning in plantations.

The Sarawak government has also proposed that the Federal Ministry of Natural Resources, Environment, Climate Change (NRECC) organise an Asean-level discussion.

“Secondly, we will discuss transboundary haze in the next meeting for Malaysia and Indonesia on Social and Economy (Sosek Malindo).

“We will also propose to the Indonesian government to encourage their business sector to venture into biomass and energy industry,” he added. — DayakDaily