Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak has expressed his appreciation for Indonesia's efforts in tackling forest fires on Sumatra and Kalimantan and spare the neighboring country from air pollution.
Speaking during a joint press conference with President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo before the 12th Malaysia-Indonesia annual consultative meeting in Kuching , Malaysia, Najib said his country had not experienced haze for two years.
“Thank you for the serious attention from Indonesia. The weather is now fresh, enjoyable,” Najib said as quoted in the Presidential Palace’s press statement on Wednesday.
Forest and land fires are perennial problems in Indonesia, with the latest fires in 2015 resulting in a choking haze blanketing numerous areas in Sumatra and Kalimantan, as well as Singapore and parts of Malaysia, costing the economy Rp 221 trillion, equal to about 1.9 percent of the country’s GDP.
In October, the National Disaster Management Agency claimed that Indonesia had improved its capacity to deal with land and forest fires following the 2015 disaster. Activists, however, have warned officials in Jakarta against complacency, saying that more needs to be done to address forest fires.