Cloud seeding around Malaysia's airports badly affected by haze

Safety hazard: A thick haze reducing the visibility level at the Penang International Airport in Bayan Lepas.

PUTRAJAYA - Cloud seeding will be carried out in areas where airports are badly affected by the haze to lessen flight delays, cancellation or redirection.

Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said the Department of Civil Aviation would be working with the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry to conduct cloud seeding near identified airports.

Among airports where activities had been affected due to the smog are Senai International Airport in Johor Baru, Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport in Subang and several airports in Sarawak.

"We are working on cloud seeding because we don't want further disruptions," he told reporters after attending the Cabinet meeting.

Liow had also directed the DCA to submit a report on how the aviation sector was affected by the haze.

The report will be presented to the Cabinet at its next meeting.

"The report will show how the haze is affecting us. We are compiling this so that we can inform Indonesia, which is working with us to resolve the problem," he said.

Liow said a circular had also been issued to port operators on safety concerns linked to the haze.

He noted that Westports Malaysia Sdn Bhd had cautioned smaller vessels not to operate if the visibility dropped to one nautical mile.

Liow said that Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who chaired the Cabinet meeting yesterday, had briefed them on the situation and that the Government would be working with Indonesia on this.

"Indonesia has given us its commitment to act against those responsible for open burning," he added.

Dr Ahmad Zahid during a visit to Indonesia last month had said that an agreement had been reached between the two countries to have regional co-operation in tackling the haze.

Indonesia, on its part, had agreed to tighten enforcement of laws while Malaysia pledged to conduct monitoring to ensure that Malay­sian government-linked companies operating in Indonesia did not contribute to the problem.