KUALA LUMPUR, June 6 (Bernama) — Malaysia hopes that a pact it signed with Indonesia on transboundary haze management Wednesday, will pave the way towards greater colloboration to tackle the problem.
Natural Resources and Environment Minister Douglas Uggah Embas said the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was a positive step for Indonesia.
Prior to this, Indonesia was heavily criticised by neighbouring countries for its failure to contain the haze problem, caused mainly by the slash-and-burn cultivation technique used in the country.
“Now, we will go to the ground as soon as possible to see what urgent action could be taken,” he told reporters after opening the “Between Bali and Poznan: Concrete Actions on Climate Change” eminar, held in conjunction with World Environment Day here Thursday.
The bilateral MoU was an outstanding provision under the ministerial sterling committee to resolve the haze problem.
The pact was inked in Jakarta Wednesday, where Malaysia was represented by the ministry’s secretary-general, Suboh Mohd Yassin, and Indonesia by its State Ministry for the Environment Deputy Minister Masyellnati Hilman.
Under the MoU, Malaysia is pledging RM2 million (US$0.6 million) to provide training and support services to educate Indonesian farmers, rehabilitation of burnt peat soil and installation of early haze warning system and Air Pollutant Index station in Bagan Api Api in Riau.
Besides Malaysia, Indonesia is also expected to sign a similar pact with Singapore for the Jampi province.
The MoU focused on the Riau province in Sumatera for now, and said that the cooperation could expand, if it was proven successful.
“We will meet from time to time, to identify and implement the necessary action to prevent the haze problem from worsening,” Uggah said, adding that the next meeting was expected to be held in Singopore this month.
Indonesia is the only country which has yet to ratify the Asean Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution. (BERNAMA)