Johor MB: No open burning, please

PHOTO: The Star/Asia News Network

JOHOR BARU - Mentri Besar Datuk Dr Sahruddin Jamal (pic) has urged the public, in particular, farmers, not to conduct any open burning during the current hot spell.

He said the public must understand the difficulties faced by the Fire and Rescue Department to put out fires during the dry season.

For instance, he said firemen had been battling a forest fire in Kampung Pekajang, Gelang Patah, for more than 12 days.

"The area is mostly peat soil where the underground heat can spread the fire quickly but (it) takes a long time to be doused, which is why we hope people will not do any open burning, " he said after officiating the state-level Maal Hijrah celebration yesterday.

A total of 140 firemen along with personnel from other agencies have been working round the clock to douse the fire, which is believed to have been caused by the hot and dry weather since Aug 21.

They have been using "total flooding" as well as "fire break" techniques to prevent the fire from spreading.

Dr Sahruddin pointed out that the Fire and Rescue Department had successfully put out about 95 per cent of the fire within 16ha of the forested area so far.

On a separate matter, he said he fully supported the Johor Religious Islamic Department's initiative in strengthening Jawi in the state.

"It is important for the Malay Muslim community to understand and able to read Jawi so they have a better understanding of the Quran.

"We have carried out various programmes as exposure and understanding that all of us have a responsibility to strengthen Islam to a much higher level, " Dr Sahruddin said.

He added that the state would increase religious programmes such as making reading the Quran a norm at government departments, agencies and private companies.