Haze will not affect Merdeka plans

Haze will not affect Merdeka plans

23 August 2006

published by http://www.nst.com.my

PUTRAJAYA: The Cabinet will decide on an alternative plan for the 49thMerdeka national-level celebrations in Kuching on Aug 31 should the haze worsen.

Culture, Arts and Heritage Minister Datuk Seri Rais Yatim said all the necessarysteps were being taken to keep the skies clear on that day, including cloudseeding.

However, the haze in Kuching has cleared in the last few days, bringing the AirPollutant Index down to moderate from unhealthy when it reached 153 lastThursday.

“For the moment, there is no issue of having a Plan B or any contingencyplan.

“I don’t want to announce anything in case some parties become anxious.

“For the moment, the Prime Minister is happy with the situation and feelsthere is no need to make any changes,” he said.

Rais was speaking to reporters yesterday after launching a Merdeka flag campaignfor civil servants, the private sector and non- governmental organisations.

Rais, who is also chairman of the National Merdeka Month 2006 CelebrationsCommittee, said he would be in Kuching on Aug 28 and 29 to re-assess thesituation in the state.

“I have been in contact with the Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister (Tan SriAlfred Jabu Numpang) on the latest developments, and I will inform the Cabinetof any changes that might have to be made.”

He said the Cabinet would be the last authority to decide on any alternative.

Rais also ticked off the media which he said was not doing enough to promotepatriotic values and news about Merdeka events.

He said the media preferred sensational stories about divorces and celebrityscandals, and treated Merdeka like “an ordinary day”.

“I hope this message reaches the ‘tauke-tauke media’ (media chiefs).They should give more coverage to Merdeka events and write about the spirit ofMerdeka and patriotic values.

“Some politicians are afraid to take on the media, but I don’t care.”

Rais added all citizens should fly the national flag from their vehicles andhomes.

The ministry has so far distributed 1.34 million flags in conjunction withNational Day.


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