News / Asia

Malaysia Declares State of Emergency in Haze Areas

A motorist wears a face mask as he rides through a town shrouded with thick haze in Muar, northwestern Johor, Malaysia, June 22, 2013.
A motorist wears a face mask as he rides through a town shrouded with thick haze in Muar, northwestern Johor, Malaysia, June 22, 2013.
VOA News
Malaysia has declared a state of emergency in two parts of the southern state of Johor, as smoke from land-clearing fires in Indonesia pushed air pollution above safe levels.

Malaysian Natural Resources and Environment Minister G. Palnival said Sunday that the edict was made after pollution levels in Malaysia reached their highest levels in 16 years.

Air quality in neighboring Singapore improved Sunday after reaching record pollution levels Friday for a third straight day.

Indonesia has deployed helicopters to help battle raging fires and to seed clouds in a desperate attempt to create rain to douse the flames.

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said Thursday the haze that began afflicting the city-state Monday could persist until the end of the dry season on Indonesia's Sumatra Island in September or October.

Singapore's National Environment Agency chief Andrew Tan has called on Indonesia to take "decisive action" against companies suspected of burning forests on Sumatra as a cheap way of clearing land.

However, Indonesian Minister for People's Welfare Agung Laksono criticized Singapore's reaction to the haze, accusing the city-state of acting like a "child."

Indonesia has defended its response, saying it is investigating companies suspected of setting the fires and trying to educate plantation owners about alternatives to traditional burning methods.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.

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by: John Debenham from: Sarawak
June 23, 2013 3:56 PM
Primary problem is that concerned politicians are the owners of the land clearing/forestry operation. It exists both in Indonesia & in East Malaysia. Corrupt government breeds this opportunistic rape & pillage approach to land management. (thought I'd got over the flu...coughing continually... off on a diving support vessel next week ... hopefully will be better)

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