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By Peter Sibon
KUCHING, Sept 20: Former Natural Resources and Environment (NRE) Minister Dato Sri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar has reminded his successor Yeo Bee Yin that the country has already signed two agreements on the haze management.
He emphasised that Malaysia, along with other Asean countries have signed the Asean Trans-boundary Haze Agreement 2002 as well as the Road Map of Asean Free of Haze by 2020 signed by five Asean countries in 2017.
“Yeo is now talking about Asean framework to handle haze. Doesn’t she know that there is already an Asean Transboundary Haze Agreement 2002 and Indonesia was the last country in Asean to ratify the agreement in 2015,” he told DayakDaily here today.
He added that the Regional Steering Committee comprised of Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore and Brunei had concluded and signed the ‘Road Map of Asean Free of Haze by 2020’ and the roadmap was endorsed by the five-member States in 2017.
“All the details of the undertakings and obligations for the management and prevention of forest fire and haze are in the two documents,” he said.
Wan Junaidi, who is also Santubong MP, revealed that at the national level, it already set up the National Haze and Dry Weather Committee chaired by the NRE Minister, where planning, diplomatic action and communication, instruction to local agencies, and enforcement of laws and regulations may be made.
“I made the point to convene the meeting of the National Haze and Dry Weather Committee in May each year in preparation for the change of the wind pattern and dry weather when planters and farmers started the land clearing and burning,” he said.
“At this point of the year, I would get the director-general of the Department of Environment to re-establish communication with his counterpart in Indonesia,” he shared.
“There never was a diplomatic note or criticism. Everything was started at the department level in the spirit of good neighbourly cooperation in handling matters of common concern. We called it the Asean spirit. I would communicate with my counterpart at the ministerial level by offering assistance and help if so required,” he added.
Wan Junaidi also advised the present minister to learn to communicate closely with her counterpart in Indonesia to tackle trans-boundary haze issue.
“Sometimes the communication are just polite reminder about fires and dry weather. Otherwise, asking for information on the situation to show our concern and care,” he said.
“With constant and continuous communication, it would forge a cordial and friendly atmosphere between the two neighbouring countries. Consequently, close cooperation were made and the effort become more meaningful and effective to both countries,” he added.
Wan Junaidi, who was the NRE minister from 2015 to 2018, elaborated that that close communications with Indonesia was also to ensure that they know the situation in Malaysia especially when haze affected the country.
“I really believe in this close cooperation and exchanges of real information are one of the greatest element of success,” he added.— DayakDaily