PHOTO: Creative Commons
I am flabbergasted at the audacity of an Indonesian Minister putting the blame on four Malaysian associated companies as being at the centre of the current smog enveloping the whole of Malaysia, parts of Kalimantan and the Riau province of Sumatra.
Indonesia’s Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya Bakar singled out four Malaysia companies, which included subsidiaries of Sime Darby, IOI and KL Kepong as the culprit companies burning off trees to clear their lands for the replanting of palm oil.
In fact, Malaysian companies have been most responsible for trying to tackle the problem.
In any case, the Indonesians had also blamed its peat soil as being the major cause for the fires.
Truth is that the Malaysian companies have been most responsible over the fires that have been ravaging.
It is also obvious that the smog that is enveloping much of the region is causing havoc and affecting the health of many.
I am also flabbergasted that the newspapers keep referring to the smog as haze as if trying to reduce its actual unhealthy effect on the people.
They are not just haze but are actually dangerous smog which had badly affected the well being of all the people.
We should call a spade a spade. It’s not just a haze as the newspapers are fond of saying but is actually dangerous smog which is a health hazard. No two ways about it.
Both Malaysia and Indonesia should seriously cooperate and find ways to tackle the problem to minimise the very unhealthy situation and danger.
It is obvious that the fires smouldering in the peat soil covering most of the areas are not easily overcome as they continue during the dry season and can develop into raging inferno.
We may not be able to overcome it all together but both countries must do something to ensure that it can be resolved once and for all.
Datuk AhmadRejal Arbee has been in journalism for over 40 years, starting as a cadet reporter in the Straits Times in 1963 and heading its Johor Bahru office in 1966. He then moved to Bernama and became its first overseas correspondent to Jakarta in 1972. He also served as the Berita Harian Group Editor and the Editor of The Sun. Currently, he is reminiscing some of his memorable experiences throughout his long career in journalism.