Kit Siang: Najib should meet Indonesian president over haze

By Jennifer Gomez

Prime Minister Najib Razak should make a "special visit" to Jakarta to meet the Indonesia president over the haze issue affecting millions of people in three Asean countries, and in particular the people of Johor, Malacca and Negeri Sembilan.

DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang said this was necessary as the haze has badly affected three Malaysian states, resulting in the closure of some 700 schools.

This morning, the API reading in Muar was 276, Malacca town 176 and 156 in Port Dickson which are in the unhealthy zone.

He said Environment Minister G. Palanivel was being "slow and tardy", given that he is only scheduled to meet Indonesian officials there on Wednesday.

"This is more than a week after the outbreak," he said. "In contrast, Singapore environment Minister Vivian Balakrishnan had met his Indonesian counterpart on the matter on Friday.

"He had a letter from Singapore's premier to president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono."

Lim pointed out that one possible reason for the slow action by Malaysia could be due to the fact that the federal capital has not yet been affected by unhealty haze levels.

 "This could be due to the workings of the 'federal capital complex', where unless, the capital is affected, it is not considered a national emergency requiring the immediate attention of the prime minister and the cabinet."

Lim stressed that urgent Asean action was needed to bring the perennial transboundary emergency under control. Raging fires in Indonesia, started by companies to clear the land of vegetation, have led to the haze. - June 22, 2103.