No quick solution to haze woes

No quick solution to haze woes
The haze situation in Penang has improved with a reduction in the API reading yesterday.

KUALA LUMPUR - There is unlikely to be a quick solution to the haze issue anytime soon. This is because the Indonesian government refuses to take the matter to the ASEAN Secretariat, said Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri G. Palanivel.

He said Indonesia preferred to have a "government to government" meeting with Malaysia and Singapore, rather than taking the matter to the ASEAN Secretariat.

Palanivel said he was informed by his Indonesian counterpart, Dr Balthasar Kambuaya, that a decision on the matter would be made only after the Indonesian parliament meets in December, either this year or next.

Indonesia has yet to ratify the ASEAN Agreement on Haze Transboundary Pollution brokered in 2002.

"We are ready to provide all the support needed to them, especially the cloud seeding planes, but we will have to wait for the Indonesian government to make a decision."

Palanivel added that the haze situation in Kedah and Penang improved with a reduction in the API reading yesterday.

He is, however, still concerned that the haze situation may worsen.

"I don't want the schools to be closed again. I am worried that it will affect students sitting their examinations," he said after opening the National Utility Mapping Seminar 2013, themed Utility Mapping -- Driving Sustainable Development, here yesterday.

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