M’sia, S’pore want haze meeting brought forward to next week

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KUALA LUMPUR (June 24): Malaysia and Singapore are proposing to bring forward to next week the 15th Sub-regional Ministerial Steering Committee Meeting on Transboundary Haze Pollution, which was originally scheduled for Aug 20-21.

In a press statement, Natural Resources and Environment minister Datuk G Palanivel said his ministry is awaiting response from the other 3 member countries, Indonesia, Brunei and Thailand, to go ahead with the meeting.

Palanivel said in view of the increasing severity of the haze situation due to hotspots in Sumatra, both Singapore and Malaysia are proposing that the meeting be held next week or the 2nd of July.

Malaysia has proposed to host the meeting in Kuala Lumpur, the minister said.

To date, only Indonesia, among the Asean countries, has not ratified the Asean Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution.

Later, on the sidelines of Parliament, Palanivel was asked about cloud seeding efforts to bring much needed rainfall to the region.

He told reporters that cloud seeding would require regional effort as Malaysia presently does not have enough clouds to make such an attempt.

He also said that to take action against Malaysian companies responsible would be "difficult" as there are other multinationals from other nations as well who are conducting open burning.

The haze situation in Malaysia has hit hazardous levels in several areas, with the Air Pollutant Index hitting a high of 750 in Muar yesterday morning, resulting in the government declaring a state of emergency in the area.

However, the API reading this morning has dropped to 132 as at 11am today. However, the readings for Port Dickson hitting 292, and 193 for Petaling Jaya.

Schools in Kuantan, Segamat, Selangor and Federal Territory Kuala Lumpur were ordered closed today due to the haze.

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