Southeast Asia — Indonesian officials from the province of Jambi are inSingapore to collaborate on a Master Plan to tackle the haze problem.
Together with their counterparts from the National Environment Agency (NEA),they are working out details on how to reduce fires and hotspots in the MuaroJambi regency. Jambi Governor Zulkifli Nurdin called on Environment and Water Resources Minister, Yaacob Ibrahim on Friday.
In a media conference later, the governor said he was grateful for Singapore’s assistance.
He also said that some of the money provided by Jakarta would be used to provide farmers with water pumps and other equipment.
They will also receive training on how to clear land.In addition, the Indonesian government is rewarding farmers who do not practise ‘slash and burn’, by giving them free fertiliser and seeds.
Mr Zulkifli added that his team would buy equipment and vehicles to access hard-to-reach areas.
He said, “Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia… (are) very seriousto work together hand in hand to overcome the problem. I’m serious about that. Ibelieve that.”
The NEA is hoping that the Master Plan will be successful so that otherprovinces can use it as a model.
It is also working together with a private Singapore company to help implement afire danger warning system.
Joseph Hui Kim Sung, Director-General, National Environment Agency, said, “TheMaster Plan will have a whole series of programmes under it. Some of theseprogrammes can be very long term. We need to have more (planning) and work outthe resources and so forth.”
There are also proposals to hold an international conference in Jambi, todiscuss the Master Plan when completed.
In the meantime, Indonesian officials have revealed that 24 foreign companiesare under investigation for allegedly causing fires.
But they admitted that it was usually hard to pass judgement, because it wasdifficult to gather enough evidence.
Another problem is that there are just too many farmers who use the traditional’slash and burn’ methods.
The Indonesians said it was an uphill task to get the farmers to give up theirold ways, in a given time frame.
And this was one reason why Jakarta has not signed the Trans Boundary HazeAgreement.
But the Indonesian officials added that this agreement would be tabled fordiscussion in Parliament on Monday.