KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia is set to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Indonesia to implement measures to curb peat soil fires that have contributed to trans-border haze.
Deputy Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Dr James Dawos Mamit said the initiative was aimed at assisting the country's Indonesian counterparts in Riau, Sumatra in preventing peat fire outbreaks during the annual dry season.
"The time frame under the present MoU will end this year and we will be signing a new agreement soon.
"I will personally travel to Sumatra for the purpose and also to evaluate peat conditions there," he said in answer to a question by Dr Michael Jayekumar Devaraj (PSM-Sungai Siput) in parliament Thursday.
Dawos said that outbreaks of peat soil fires, particularly in the Riau province, were common during the dry spell owing to ground surface water loss.
He said that extensive peat soil studies done in Sarawak three years ago would also provided Indonesia with better know-how on dealing with the problem more effectively.
"As a preventive measure, we have helped authorities in Riau to build 10 check dams aimed at maintain ground surface water for peat soil," he added.
He said there are plans to assist Indonesia in tackling the haze problem under the proposed MoU.
Earlier this year, fires razed some 21,000 hectares of dried peat land swamps in Riau with 1,243 hot spots detected at the height of the fires on March 2.