Najib should make special visit to Jakarta to meet with Indonesian President Yudhoyono to highlight gravity of current haze emergency to millions in three ASEAN countries, and in particular the three states of Johore, Malacca and Negri Sembilan

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak should make a special visit to Jakarta to meet with the Indonesian President, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to highlight the gravity of the current haze emergency to millions of people in three ASEAN countries, in particular to the three states of Johore, Malacca and Negri Sembilan in Malaysia, and the need for urgent common Asean action to bring the perennial transboundary emergency under control.

The Singapore Environment Minister Vivian Balakrishnan flew to Jakarta yesterday and met with his Indonesian counterpart Environment Minister Balthasar Kambuaya on the haze emergency, with a letter from the Singapore Prime Minister to the Indonesian President.

In contrast, the Malaysian Environment Minister Datuk Seri G. Palanivel is only going to Indonesia to meet with Indonesian government officials next Wednesday, more than a week after the outbreak of the latest haze emergency which have been posed serious health and environment threats to the people in Johore, Malacca and Negri Sembilan, resulting in the closure of some 700 schools.

Why is the Malaysian Environment Minister so slow and tardy in rising up to the challenges of the latest haze emergency afflicting Malaysians?

May be there are two reasons: Firstly, the Federal capital have so far been spared from the “very unhealthy” (API 200 – 300) and “hazardous” (API > 300) Air Pollution Index readings, which have so far affected the three states of Johore, Malacca and Negri Sembilan and the workings of the “Federal Capital complex” that unless the federal capital is affected, there is no national emergency needing immediate attention of the Prime Minister and the Federal Cabinet.

Secondly, the appointment of an Environment Minister, Datuk Seri G. Palanivel who is probably the most “lightweight” Environment Minister in the nation’s history.

When Palanivel is facing problem asserting his authority in MIC, how can we expect the Environment Minister to speak and act with authority not only in the Malaysian government but in ASEAN forums?

No wonder Palanivel can only talk about asking the National Security Council to activate the haze management co-ordination committee in view of the haze emergency, but not the authority to influence the immediate activation of the committee.

Where is the sense of responsibility and urgency by both the Minister for Environment and the National Security Council on the latest haze emergency when the haze management co-ordination committee has not been activated yet?

This has made a visit by Najib to Jakarta to meet with Indonesian President Yudhoyona on the haze emergency all the more imperative, as Najib should go beyond tweets and facebook to provide leadership both Malaysian and ASEAN to deal with the latest haze emergency afflicting three ASEAN countries.

  1. #1 by Bigjoe on Saturday, 22 June 2013 - 11:36 am

    I saw KL covered in haze from up a hill just a couple of hours ago and now I can smell smoke in my second floor of my house.

  2. #2 by yhsiew on Saturday, 22 June 2013 - 11:43 am

    Perhaps Malaysia’s “soft tactic” of offering cloud seeding to the Indonesian government works better than Singapore’s screaming and blaming harsh approach in handling of foreign relations with Indonesia.

  3. #3 by Winston on Saturday, 22 June 2013 - 12:10 pm

    LKS, after a decade or more of kid’s gloves treatment and with annual threats to our health and economic wealth, the time for kid’s gloves and you scratch my back and I scratch yours with Indonesia must be off!!!!
    Just imagine, more than a decade of such absolutely unnecessary man-made hazard is more than anyone can stomach!!!!
    Same with the corrupted government that we have for almost six decades!!!!
    Something’s got to give!!!!

  4. #4 by tuahpekkong on Saturday, 22 June 2013 - 8:43 pm

    Singapore has made strong representations to Indonesia over the hazardous smog that is engulfing the city state but Indonesia seems to be taking the problem in its own stride. One senior Indonesian minister even accused Singapore of behaving like a kid and reminded Singapore of other unsettled issues like extradition of criminals. Indonesia is behaving like a big brother and she does not want others to meddle. I think we are trying not to upset the Indonesians by complaining too much, though our people are suffering. Indonesian authorities can detain our fishermen who are probably fishing in disputed seas (a few fishermen from Pontian, Johor are still being held by them) without eliciting a protest but try detaining their fishermen in the same way and see what happens.

  5. #5 by Gordie on Sunday, 23 June 2013 - 8:04 am

    The Elephant in the room is our ignorance about the impact Palm Oil agriculture has on the environment both in Malaysia and Indonesia. Have you not noticed that if your drive from KL to JB or even KL to Kuantan, that horizon after horizon has been planted with Palm Oil. The old argument that the palm oil was planted on top of existing Rubber plantations is an old one but not accurate. If you are worried about the haze presently, look no further than your kitchen cupboards and observe what cooking oil you are using…most Malaysians use palm oil to cook with, our biscuits are full of it too. All warungs, restaurants and mamak stalls are cooking with it. We want cheap oil and yet we complain when the haze comes. Do we complain with the loss of jungle, peat forests, the natural habitat of Malaysian and Indonesian fauna? No not much. Its all connected. Palm OIl makes big money, its an unhealthy oil (Just compare its high saturated fat level in comparison to Canola, Olive, or Sunflower oil), its subsudised heavily and our consumption of it is incredibly high. We are responsible for the haze and we have a choice in this by not consuming Palm Oil.

  6. #6 by negarawan on Sunday, 23 June 2013 - 10:21 am

    There should be a collective voice and action(s) from Malaysia and Singapore on the Indon government to resolve this long overdue problem of haze. Separate meetings with Indon won’t be as impactful.

  7. #7 by negarawan on Sunday, 23 June 2013 - 10:48 am

    The truth is, the Indon government and responsible agriculture companies are not feeling any “pain”. This haze problem will then continue. The companies involved, irregardless of nationality, must be punished to the max and be made responsible and liable.

  8. #8 by negarawan on Sunday, 23 June 2013 - 11:01 am

    It cannot be denied that corruption also plays a major role in why the Indon government is not effective after more than two decades of the haze problem. Ministries, enforcement agencies and local governments are paid off by companies to shut their mouth and take no actions.

  9. #9 by john on Sunday, 23 June 2013 - 1:53 pm

    LOL ! What special trip ?
    If there is, will be AS USUAL all glitz, handshake, photo-session, some serious acting-look for camera session and proposed remedial actions by Indo/Both. Then the foot-dragging, same sandiwara or excuses and until ensuring ALL burnt-out as was intended initially.
    Then ALL quieten down (after all haze burnt-out) until comes next year 2014, then SAME sing-song session all over again.
    These are the same CROOKS, CHEATS from Bumno that being there since Mamak Kutty’s regime days.
    This the last, least of their concern and now with Bumno EGM in view. LOL !

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