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Indonesia Denies Responsibility for Malaysia’s Haze, Stirring Discontent Among Netizens

Indonesia Denies Responsibility for Malaysia’s Haze, Stirring Discontent Among Netizens

According to the Indonesian Minister of Environment and Forestry, Siti Nurbaya, no signs of haze have been detected crossing the border.

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Recently, Malaysia has experienced a resurgence of haze, with unhealthy Air Pollutant Index (API) readings reported in several areas.

As of 8am on 3 October, the Malaysian Air Pollution Index Management System (APIMS) recorded elevated API readings in four areas: Nilai (155), Cheras (153), Seremban (144), and Putrajaya (90).

Quoting Muhammad Helmi Abdullah, the Director-General of the Malaysian Meteorological Department (MetMalaysia), the current haze affecting the country is attributed to the path of haze from Kalimantan.

Source: MET Malaysia

Jakarta Dismisses Claims that Malaysia’s Haze Originated from Indonesian Forest and Land Fires

On 2 October, the Indonesian Ministry of Environment and Forestry (KLHK) refuted allegations regarding the haze issue in Malaysia being linked to smoke from Indonesian forest and land fires (karhutla) crossing into the country.

According to a statement by the Minister of Environment and Forestry, Siti Nurbaya Bakar, complaints about haze in Malaysia are deemed inaccurate.

“We have closely monitored the situation and found no evidence of haze crossing the border into Malaysia,” she affirmed.

No Haze Images Observed Crossing into Malaysia

Siti Nurbaya further clarified that the ministry reported no instances of haze images crossing the border, as confirmed by observations of haze distribution images from the Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) and the ASEAN Specialised Meteorological Centre (ASMC) between 28 and 30 September.

She added that the haze remained at moderate to thick levels in several areas in Sumatra and Kalimantan for several days, as observed by ASMC.

Additionally, on Sunday, 1 October, dense haze was observed in Central Kalimantan (Kalteng) and South Sumatra (Sumsel), but it did not cross the border.

Indonesia’s Efforts to Contain Forest Fires in Sumatra and Borneo

Indonesia’s foreign ministry spokesperson disclosed that Indonesia is actively working to contain the forest fires occurring in various regions of Sumatra and Borneo using water bombs deployed from helicopters.

For context, Indonesia is currently facing one of its worst drought seasons this year, primarily due to El Niño.

As per data from the Indonesian Ministry of Environment and Forestry, over 267,900 hectares of forest have been ravaged by fires this year, surpassing the total of 204,894 hectares recorded in all of 2022.

KLHK also revealed that 203 companies have received warnings, and 20 companies have been shut down due to their involvement in the fires, including subsidiaries in Malaysia.

Source: European Commission

The Ministry of Health Malaysia offers the following health precautions for the public during the haze:

  • Reduce outdoor physical activities.
  • Wear face masks in public places.
  • Keep windows closed to prevent haze from entering buildings.
  • Consume an adequate amount of plain water, at least eight glasses per day.
  • Install air conditioning and air purifiers for improved ventilation.
  • Seek prompt medical attention if unwell.

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