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CYBERJAYA, Oct 26, 2015:

Malaysia will hold further talks with Indonesia on the assistance required to tackle the forest fires in the republic causing the haze, said Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar.

He said about 1.7 million hectares of forest and open land in Sumatra and Kalimantan were on fire and it was not easy to put out the blaze due to the lack of rain in the affected areas.

“This means that Indonesia still needs our help,” he said, adding that he would be going to the republic tomorrow to discuss the required assistance.

He also hoped to discuss with Indonesian Environment and Forestry Minister Dr Siti Nurbaya Bakar on the memorandum of understanding between Malaysia and Indonesia in tackling the transboundary haze.

This MoU has yet to be signed as it was delayed due to the very bad haze.

Wan Junaidi was speaking to reporters after meeting the 2015-2017 board members of the Malaysian Forestry Research and Development Board here today.

On Oct 11, Malaysia, through the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA), sent a Bombardier CL 415 aircraft and an AS 365 N3 Dauphin helicopter to participate in the fire-fighting operations in South Sumatra, Indonesia.

The Bombardier aircraft carried out “water scooping” and “water bombing” over the affected areas, with more than one million litres of water released on the burning forests and open ground on Oct 20.

Wan Junaidi said the Indonesians commended the effectiveness of the first Malaysian fire-fighting mission in Sumatra.

“As the aircraft has to be serviced before it can be sent for the following mission, we are ready to send our Fire and Rescue teams to provide assistance there.”

On another note, Wan Junaidi said he would propose to the government to amend the Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM) regulations so that the institute could go commercial and generate its own oncome.

“In this way, FRIM will be able to attract investors. With the income generated, FRIM will be self-sustaining.”

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