Terrible haze in Miri

by Curtin University of Technoloy Sarawak student

I am currently student of Curtin University of Technology Sarawak Campus.

Over the past 2 days, the haze is getting worse and worse.

Time now is 4.19 am. Our students here cannot sleep at all due to the thick haze. We event cannot look out, which make our eyes in pain.

We dont have any channel to complain regarding this issue. Even we call the Fire Department, they say they are trying their best.

Miri City has to do something especially in this international university whereby a lot of foreign students studying here are suffering from this bad haze.

Our location are Senadin, Lutong and PermyJaya housing areas.

  1. #1 by k1980 on Saturday, 8 August 2009 - 8:45 am

    This nonsense has been happening year in and year out. The Indonesian govt must be held accountable for this and should pay for the medical expenses incurred by all Malaysians who suffered because of the Indonesian inconsiderate burning of jungles.

  2. #2 by Joshua on Saturday, 8 August 2009 - 9:20 am

    The earth is burning every where with worst climatic changes.

    Oil palm plantation in Borneo after the natural forest gone bring more misery to the inhabitants of Borneo.

    Especially for Sarawakains they come over to Sabah to do a lot of damages here grabbing all the contracts with corruption and despise Sabah and Sabahans, this is a backlash . A curse for them.

    So most people have to repent now before they go off next world.

    pw: too? fiasco

  3. #3 by HJ Angus on Saturday, 8 August 2009 - 9:53 am

    whatever happened to all those expensive ASEAN summits where delegates pledge that such fires will be history?

  4. #4 by OrangRojak on Saturday, 8 August 2009 - 10:00 am

    That was how it was in PD yesterday morning. My wife said it was hazy all the way up to Nilai. I was wheezing like an old man about to die, wondering if I should go to KLIA and just give up. The thought of Indonesian planes crashing due to smoke from forest fires was part of the reason I decided to stay put!

    I don’t think it’s all Indonesia: the smoke was a bit too acrid yesterday, like it hadn’t travelled very far. The loss to the country in immediate lost productivity and ongoing health problems must be huge. There should be an immediate crackdown on open burning. I heartily support Najib carpet bombing offenders, spraying them with automatic gunfire and then C4ing them too. He can indefinitely detain their relatives and friends too, without access to legal advice, if he likes.

    If it’s any help to anybody caught in the smoke, shutting the door to my office yesterday, and repeatedly mopping the floor and washing and hanging up wet towels seem to make the air much more breathable. Probably there are expensive technological solutions too, but that was cheap and seemed to work.

    Even my kids were coughing like lung cancer victims yesterday!

    Hey there’s a thought – at last – a use for the water cannons!

    Does anybody have any good links to any satellite images of the burning? I see plenty of old ones from the time of New Scientist’s “Neighbour from Hell” article.

  5. #5 by limkamput on Saturday, 8 August 2009 - 10:27 am

    HJ Angus :whatever happened to all those expensive ASEAN summits where delegates pledge that such fires will be history?

    Precisely we have hapless governments all over ASEAN where economic growth and wealth creation for the wealthy have taken complete precedence over the general welfare of the population. May be with the exception of Singapore, everywhere in ASEAN is filthy, dirty and disease riddled. The government could spend billions recuing banks, big firms and businesses but they can’t do one thing right about haze. Ya, may be it is time for another summit where international civil servants and their ministers, with nice batik shirts and congregate at another cosy resort to have another round of “talk cock” session at the expense of the tax payers and the poor.

    Please note that the haze is not just externally generated. Just look at within our country – the land clearing, the burning and the billowing of thick black smoke out of vehicles. Sometimes I just wonder how our enforcement authorities can be so blind. Oh no, they are not blind, they are in the pockets of all the businesses.

  6. #6 by William on Saturday, 8 August 2009 - 10:38 am

    Don’t blame anyone other than ourselves! The smog actually came from heavy burning just next to Curtin University! The peat bush was set on fire a few days ago! It could be done by developer or some “farmers”. I have put photos on my blog: http://williamtingcl.blogspot.com/2009/08/smoghaze-or-what.html

  7. #7 by AhPek on Saturday, 8 August 2009 - 10:53 am

    Why are we all complaining?Indonesia is waiting for Malaysia to send her fire brigade to douse the flame.IT IS MALAYSIA”S FAULT!

  8. #8 by Joshua on Saturday, 8 August 2009 - 1:42 pm

    I have done a lot over this scenario of haze and the rest is really history to be in the graveyard.

    Since 2003, I had openly campaigned against the expanding oil palm plantations in Sabah and you should seen some of those angry faces of the people involved with alien oil palm plantations.

    Sabah has 1-2 million aliens.

    I have written three little books on water, palm oil, haze, hell, and desert to be in Borneo.

    So who care now? Doomed and helpless after C4.

    pw: axes there’s

  9. #9 by k1980 on Saturday, 8 August 2009 - 2:04 pm

    Can hazy conditions cause breathing complications for those already down with the A(H1N1) flu?

    Three H1N1-related deaths have been reported today including a four-year-old boy in Johor Baru, bringing the total of deaths to 18.

    Five more ICU patients out of 14 are currently at high risks.

  10. #10 by pakpandil on Saturday, 8 August 2009 - 2:20 pm

    Look at the number of hotspots in Sawarak (http://www.weather.gov.sg/wip/web/ASMC), what is BN Sarawak state government doing about it? Tidur!?

  11. #11 by GreenBug on Saturday, 8 August 2009 - 3:50 pm

    The problem with the present government is that it doesn’t know what to do. Maybe it doesn’t even know how to handle the Miri haze which is actually caused by open burning in Sarawak itself (don’t blame Indonesia for this one!). The govt is so preoccupied with re-capturing Selangor it has lost focus on everything else that are more important to the people. Everything is done on ad-hoc basis and rushed through… look at the change in language of instruction for Maths & Science, look at the hasty decision to implement censorship for Internet (and then a U-turn just hours later)…

    YB Kit, do make sure you guys in PR also do not lose focus. Make sure there is a taskforce out there helping voter registration, update of voter status and no hanky-panky. If they call a Snap Election mid-2010, don’t get caught with your Levi’s down… raise the funds NOW! Make sure the generic posters are ready etcetera…

  12. #12 by OrangRojak on Saturday, 8 August 2009 - 4:10 pm

    Good find pakpandil – that made it very obvious why it was so bad here yesterday! Prompted by your post, a search for ‘meteorological site:gov.my’ turned up met.gov.my and doe.gov.my – met.gov.my has an East Malaysia satellite hotspot image that shows it’s not just Indonesia’s fault:


    Can we revisit the East Malaysia communications topic and propose a decent monitoring platform that can capture forensic-quality images of firestarters? Deliberately causing misery on such a massive scale ought to be punishable as terrorism , I would have thought. Since Malaysia has the death penalty, could we apply it to a few forest burners please? In the recent Australian bushfires, a man was charged with arson causing death. It doesn’t seem unreasonable to apply similarly severe charges here.

    Perhaps this is another question for the IGP. Haze causes and hastens death. Given that it’s such a severe and long-running problem, why is nobody being charged? We cannot ask Indonesia to tackle their arsonists until we demonstrate we can deal with our own.

    k1980 – I read somewhere that common air quality measurements in Malaysia have health effects similar to smoking 20-50 cigarettes per day. You don’t have to have H1N1 to be at risk from that!

  13. #13 by bumihijau on Saturday, 8 August 2009 - 4:45 pm

    Almost yearly, we had been presented with this hazy environment when ever there is a dry spell.

    The haze is not the only problem but the adverse effect to human being is very critical and requires urgent attention by those in power.

    As usual the ‘agent’ will blame other entities and the poor padi farmers after making ton of money by selling the logs. Their way of reasoning reflected how stupid they are and they cannot fool the rakyat no more.

    The people who has been vested with power and authority should put these numerous large scale open burning in Malaysia a complete stop, forever. And also, stop helping our neighbours to burn their forest for Kelapa Sawit plantation.

    But why did we experience these hazy condition yearly. Everybody knows the answer.
    Whenever haze come, they have a ready solution – Cloud seeding. Again this is money and it become somebody business.

    Keep our forest. In the long term we gain more than logging and burning it down.


    > Clean air. This commodity will be very expensive if we sustain this present hazy condition.
    > More fresh water available. This commodity will be very expensive if we sustain the logging activities and burning for Kelapa Sawit plantation.
    > Increase in Eco-Tourism activities and other ventures associated with it. Million of Tourist will come to Malaysia because their countries are already polluted.
    >Healthy environment healthy rakyat. Rakyat will not be burdened with expensive medical bill anymore and likewise goverment will spend less on medical subsidies and the money can be use for some other meaningful purpose.

    I have more benefits to spell out. But due to time constraint i would like to stop here.

    Look like the benefits outweight the two evils.

    Rakyat let go for it. We don’t have the money to go somewhere beautiful and we surely cannot afford to stay at home with the air conditioning unit running 24 hrs.

    So who can afford all this. You know I know. Rakyat, let do something to bring this nonesence to a stop for ever.

  14. #14 by cemerlang on Saturday, 8 August 2009 - 6:28 pm

    You mean to say that because of these international students, then something must be done and if it is just local students, nothing will be done ? That is a wrong way of looking at things. If you cannot help your own people first, forget about helping others. As for the pollution, you can try the Jabatan Alam Sekitar website and you can try the e aduan. Whether the website works is another matter. With this sort of pollution and the H1N1 pandemic, this land is like a living hell to many. High time for Zainal Abidin to launch his green party.

  15. #15 by limkamput on Saturday, 8 August 2009 - 6:42 pm

    //Can we revisit the East Malaysia communications topic and propose a decent monitoring platform that can capture forensic-quality images of firestarters? //

    No need to go very far. Just go TTDI mosque compund area. There is this guy who burn dry leaves, coconut husk and other stuff EVERYDAY there (at around 6 to 7 pm). I wounder why and I wonder why the authority never seems to notice it. If you call DOE, they will say they have bigger fire to worry about. But didn’t our situation now bad enough? why allow open burning everywhere even within the town areas?

  16. #16 by Joshua on Saturday, 8 August 2009 - 8:18 pm

    It seems that most people would blame the open burning which is essential for those shifting cultivation to feed the poor people themselves. Even home gardening also need to burn those trash for the purpose of nourishing for the vegetables etc. From my experience growing bittergourds can only be fruitful if the ground at preparation stage is burned.

    So open burning may be a factor for the haze. But it is actually an accumulation of all gases from all the activities of the inhabitants especially those wasteful trips by individual cars rather than using public transport.

    Malaysia as a cars manufacturer would encourage more cars on the roads. So public transport development is ignored when there are too few good roads in Sabah and Sarawak. In Peninsula M’sia, there are plenty of good roads hence there are also plenty of private vehicles and public transport facilities are still lacking. The tolls companies still want to make their ‘tons of fresh’ from the travelling public as an essential activity.

    We have rotten system in M’sia and haze is just an ugly manifestation of that as years after years since 1990s nothing has been done with the worsening haze.

    Palm oil plantation is not a friendly environmental thing as the floods, droughts, climate decline, temperature rise of 3-4 degrees centigrade in Sabah for 3 decades and haze are due to the expanding plantation acreage of 1.5 million hectare in Sabah for the same period.

    All these pressing issues are dealt with in my three books. It is too late for a better days ahead as the poverty means rich people become richer and poor people become poorer in the rotten oppressive system . While the rich people can afford to burn fuel in their luxurious cars and executive private jets, the poor people has to burn their land for food.

    pw: cluding parasol

  17. #17 by yhsiew on Saturday, 8 August 2009 - 8:52 pm

    We have seen how the BN government neglected Sabah and Sarawak in decades past, surely it will not give top priority to the haze problem in Miri.

    The Sarawakians have themselves to blame for voting in an uncaring government.

  18. #18 by OrangRojak on Saturday, 8 August 2009 - 8:59 pm

    Even home gardening also need to burn those trash
    Not true! I had a small vegetable patch in an ornamental garden in the UK, but the boundary was a hedge made of dense trees. The clippings from the hedge dwarfed the rubbish from the rest of the garden, but all of it went into two compost bins which I was given free by the local council. Open fires are very rare in the residential areas in the UK – there are heavy penalties. The waste disposal companies don’t want green waste, so most people compost it.

    The bins are about chest height, like upside-down rubbish bins made of stout dark-coloured recycled plastic, with a lid that isn’t airtight, but stops animals getting into the rubbish. They might be about 2/3cubic metre in volume. They’re open at the bottom. You can put all the peelings from cooking into the bins too (and shredded paper, egg shells, tea bags etc), but no cooked food or meat, as that turns the bins rotten. They have to sit on earth, not on a hard surface. After 3 months or so, the green matter has been converted to fertile black soil by the action of insects, worms and fungus. Every now and again, you can just push the bin over (because it’s wider at the base), shovel aside the black soil and throw the uncomposted waste back into the top of the bin.

    The black soil from the base of the compost fin is fine and crumbly, excellent for improving lawns or for enriching soil in a vegetable patch. There’s no pollution, and no need to use fuel to transport waste. A little bit of elbow grease is required: I had a couple of old logs in the garden for chopping the garden waste into smaller pieces to make composting faster. I just sat on one and used an axe to chop on the other – like preparing dinner, only bigger! Some of my older, richer neighbours had powered shredders. You don’t have to put the shreds in the compost, you can throw them straight onto the roots of plants to stop the soil drying too fast in sunny weather.

    Home composting really only became widespread in the last ten or fifteen years in the UK, after the council rubbish collections started rejecting green waste. I thought it worked very well, and saved on buying supplements for the garden too. Does anybody do that in Malaysia?


  19. #19 by Jaswant on Saturday, 8 August 2009 - 9:02 pm

    “Just go TTDI mosque compund area. There is this guy who burn dry leaves, coconut husk and other stuff EVERYDAY there (at around 6 to 7 pm). I wounder why …” limkamput

    So you go to mosque to ask your God for forgiveness for your sins. What sins have you committed this time?

  20. #20 by limkamput on Saturday, 8 August 2009 - 10:11 pm

    i need not tell someone who does not know what Sin is and what sins are.

  21. #21 by Jaswant on Sunday, 9 August 2009 - 12:34 am

    So you do go to mosque.

  22. #22 by limkamput on Sunday, 9 August 2009 - 8:50 am

    If this is not intrusive, I don’t know what is? Does it matter to you? Going to mosque and genuinely feeling repentant and praying is of course entirely different things. For some it is duckling hearing thunder again.

  23. #23 by Joshua on Sunday, 9 August 2009 - 10:54 am


    What you wrote is only true for some people in the UK. Yes, composting is a good idea but how to do that when most people cannot do home gardening in Malaysia as seeds sow would disappear eaten up by worms, insects, pests in all shapes and sizes of snails, birds, and pesticides are not answers to such damages or losses. Composting is only good for small areas, and organic is just a gimmick sale catch word.

    So our haze is due mainly to slashing and burning of shifting cultivation of thousands of secondary forests year in and year out. Of course, that is only part of the reasons hence part of the temporary solution for baning of open burnings.

    I know how important is composting as I used to enjoy abundant fresh vegetables including the ones asians enjoy in the UK or London where I had an allotment for almost two years from the Ilford Essex County in the late 1970s. When I moved into the allotment as abandoned by the previous person, I inherited plenty of compost on that ground provided annually by the council for free those leaves after autumn. I could grow whatever without pesticides and fertilizers throughout the two years. Of course some people in the allotment would sometimes burn some of the ‘victims’ including bushes of pests.

    Sad to note, I have proposed Home Gardening Association in Kota Kinabalu and very few people are interested, hence haze is an early warning to the urban folks as farmers have to find their sustenance and whatever left is sold to the urban folk at low prices.

    Most homes in KK, and elsewhere are like prisons with high gates and most open spaces – front and back are either left to the grass – no plants at all or are completely cemented. So if the farmers efforts are not appreciated, then where would the urbanites get their agro products? So the haze may serve as a reminder that farmers have an important role to play for our survival as foods largely imported now would be scarce with climatic decline not climate change.

    Meanwhile I have a very small area ( 600 sq ft)around my house where I practise real Organic method (no pesticides and chemical fertilisers and have been successful for 4 months with good harvest. So I want to start Homes Gardening to pass this on.

    pw: Buono ecuador

  24. #24 by OrangRojak on Sunday, 9 August 2009 - 3:17 pm

    Composting is only good for small areas
    I worked for a Knowledge Economy Initiative in the UK briefly before coming to Malaysia. One of the projects I helped out on was a farmer who had diversified into producing fertilisers from incoming waste ‘streams’. Essentially he would pay for or accept for free (because it’s expensive to dispose of waste in the UK) agricultural waste and combine in it vast ‘hot’ compost piles, and then sell the result as fertiliser. We developed some software that used a few measurements from the incoming streams and Operational Research to maximise profit by controlling the relative mixtures of the streams.

    Sooner or later, if Malaysia is going to change, some dearly-held beliefs and traditions are going to have to be dispensed with. There are alternative ways of making money (since that seems to be the major concern) from the same resources. Are there not even any government funded research projects looking into alternative models for Malaysian agriculture? I’m not convinced the blame can be laid squarely on farmers. The proposition that we can eat cheaper if we sit choking at our desks, dying earlier from a gruesome respiratory ailment like lung cancer is not convincing.

    I was born in Ilford, not long before the 70s! To be fair to the people of Malaysia, the only reason people in the UK use composting bins instead of fly-tipping, burning and hiding garden waste in the household rubbish collection is that burning is mostly illegal and is strictly enforced with hefty penalties and waste disposal was made a very expensive business by legislators. The councils offered to pass on those costs to householders, or provide them with free compost bins. I think the offer was something like ‘recycle it’ or pay an extra RM300 or more per month on waste disposal. Easy choice, huh?

    We need to see some effort put into doing something similar by the Malaysian government.

  25. #25 by Jaswant on Sunday, 9 August 2009 - 3:53 pm

    A mosque going Lim Kam Poot? So it is true after all

  26. #26 by Joshua on Sunday, 9 August 2009 - 8:40 pm

    The haze bring us to share the common interest here.

    Since you are in M’sia, try to find out how the oil palm plantation clear their land for cultivation? That is 1.5 million hectare in Sabah alone.

    When in the early 1980s, the cocoa plantations were employing the contractors to slash and burn the secondary forests.

    It was reported that Sarawak with all the illegal and greedy leaders were emulating Sabah into Oil Palm in a big way. Sarawak is three times the size of Sabah and with regularly draught and no rain which is perfect time to burn the slashed forests for oil palm. So Borneo would be a desert soon unless oil palm plantation is frosen when the natural forests are not are not easily re-created.

    So the haze now is a final warning but who cares when rain from expensive clouds seeding is done as a stop gap measure until we see the inevitable desert as we know who had cut all forests in Sarawak and Sabah.

    Sabah was predicted to be in drought until September but since may, we had storms here except Paitan in Kudat area was without water for sometime now.

    pw: humil- twit

  27. #27 by lopez on Sunday, 9 August 2009 - 9:52 pm

    hey man, in this govt, haze is not in the prirority list
    first is math and sceince in malay, next is religion of the nation, next is opening cremeony here or there.
    sorry lah, even the hifi never get the priority what you expect.
    opur doctors also did not say anything what, what so paranoidal.

    welcome to 1 malaysia

  28. #28 by johnnypok on Monday, 10 August 2009 - 4:23 am

    What a shame. Miri is an oil-town. Where has all the oil money gone to? Surely the federal government can do something…10% of the 500 million commission is more than enough to give some comfort to the people of Miri.

  29. #29 by chinstephen on Monday, 10 August 2009 - 7:36 am

    johnnypok :What a shame. Miri is an oil-town. Where has all the oil money gone to? Surely the federal government can do something…10% of the 500 million commission is more than enough to give some comfort to the people of Miri.

    What’s worse we at neighbouring Brunei got to suffer the haze which blows over from Sarawak. Visit Miri and you’ll find they’re the worse drivers in Malaysia.

  30. #30 by i_love_malaysia on Monday, 10 August 2009 - 11:03 am

    Now you all know why Environment improvement is not listed as one of the KPIs by BN govt!!!

  31. #31 by Fujisan on Wednesday, 24 March 2010 - 9:42 am

    Actually in Malaysia we can use wind power as West Malaysia is a peninsula. We are able to generate wind power from both the Straits of Malacca and also from the South China Sea. We can also use wave power generation along the South China Sea stretch as there are a lot of waves there.

    Of course we cannot forget that we are virtually drenched by sunlight as we are ever so near the equator and have virtually 80% of the days in a year filled with sunlight. So for us solar power generation is a must lah.

    aiyoh…. another way to cut emissions in the KL city is bring back river transport. If you look carefully at KL we have a network of streams and rivers which can be dammed up so that it can be deep enough for flat bottom boats / ferries to transport people from Klang to KL and around KL even. Of course we need to have a clean river environment first before we implement this… but can’t the operator of the river transportation system also take care of the health of the river? He can clean up and maintain … make the necessary dams / water locks / station and … and run the ferries…. it can even be a tourist attraction. Of course there is the advertising space in the stations as well as on the ferries that he can sell to make extra money. Imagine a ferry moving along at a slow pace…hmmmm… the advertisers advertising mileage will be greater

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