Ready to help Indonesia combat haze, says Malaysia

We are ready to assist Indonesia. But there are has been no official request yet, says Malaysian minister Shahidan Kassim.

Malaysia has extended its support to Indonesia to tackle the haze created by the constant burning of forest in Kalimantan and Sumatra. After the Disaster Mitigation Agency declared emergency in six provinces in Indonesia, Malaysia offers assistance by deploying manpower and resource.

According to Channel NewsAsia, Cabinet Minister Shahidan Kassim said Malaysia is ready to send two Bombardier aircraft, capable of transporting 6000 litres, to Indonesia.

"We are ready to assist Indonesia. But there are has been no official request yet; the two bombardiers are ready to go,"said Shahidan, according to the news agency.

Indonesia's land clearing and forest fire brought back the haze in Malaysia, said the Environment Ministry in Kuala Lumpur on August 19. Cities in the country have recorded moderate to high API (air pollutant index) readings recently.

Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar, The Natural Resources and Environment Minister, said that the forest fire in Indonesia's Kalimantan and Sumatra is the reason for the haze. He also said that he will be informing the neighbouring country about the environmental hazard.

"We don't want to pick a fight but we just want to notify them that the haze is back," he said, as reported by The Straits Times.

However, Junaidi praised Indonesia for taking substantial effort to control the forest fire. He said that Indonesia was swift in taking action but unfortunately could not stop the smoke from creating haze.

The peat fire has also shrouded parts of neighbouring Singapore in a thick blanket of smog. On Friday, Singaporeans posted on social media photos of the hazy Singapore skyline as they detected burning smell in parts of the nation.

The haze is generally caused by the illegal slash-and-burn cultivation widely practiced in Indonesia.

Last year, Malaysia assisted Indonesia in tackling the haze crisis. Malaysia sent its Bombardier to douse raging forest fires that covered the country and its neighbouring states in thick smoke.