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Peatland News

Title: Burn the trees, face the flak
Date: 08-Oct-2006
Category: Malaysia
Source/Author: New Straights Times (Malaysia)
Description: The Malaysian government will not protect any local companies involved in open burning activities in Indonesia.

New Straits Times - PUTRAJAYA: The government will not protect any local companies involved in open burning activities in Indonesia.

"They will have to face the Indonesian law as the country is against open burning," Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Peter Chin Fah Kui said.

 "I leave it to the Indonesian government to act against them."

 There are 34 Malaysian companies operating in Kalimantan and Sumatra.

 Chin said he had instructed the officers in the Malaysia-Indonesia joint committee on plantations and commodities to furnish him with details on companies carrying out open burning in Sumatra or Kalimantan.

 "I have not received any written report from them. However, I was told (by the officers) that none of the local companies with plantations in the two regions had carried out any open burning."

 Chin said he and his Indonesian counterpart, Dr Anton Apriyantono, intended toenforce the regulations agreed upon in a memorandum of understanding signed between the two countries in July.

 He said representatives of local firms in Indonesia had denied involvement in open burning when they met him last year.

 "They informed me that they practised zero-burning, just like what we are doing here in Malaysia."

 In Pekan, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said Asean member countries must set up a high-tech forest fire-fighting team to address the haze problem.

 He said the multi-national team to be deployed at hot- spots in the region must be equipped with proper equipment, including the expensive but effective water bombers.

 Najib also called for a stop to criticisms against Indonesia for failing to stop the forest fires.

 He said Indonesia would not be able to tackle the forest fires without the help of other Asean members.

 "We should in fact sympathise with Indonesia."

 He also admitted that there was not much the authorities could do to improve the current haze condition.

Website (URL) http://www.nst.com.my

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