PUTRAJAYA: Several measures will be taken with Indonesia to ensure that the trans-boundary haze does not occur that would aggravate the expected hot and dry spell in the months ahead, said Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
“This is critical because this year is also Visit Malaysia 2007. We will continue to forge cooperation with Indonesia on this matter,” he told reporters after chairing the Permata Negara committee.
On the home front, the Deputy Prime Minister said checks on open burning must be increased and reservoirs monitored for their water levels.
“We will also have to advise the public to use water wisely and check on wastage,” he added.
Najib said he was confident that state governments would know when to act in the case of a drought.
Authorities are warning the public to brace themselves for a possible drought.
The country is also on high alert for peat and bushfires, with Muadzam Shah and Tebu Hitam in Pahang, and Batang Berjuntai in Selangor identified as potential hot spots.
The hot spell that is synonymous with the Chinese New Year period is merely a precursor to an El Nino-related hot and dry spell.
In Batu Pahat, the Fire and Rescue Department said it was ready to send firefighters to neighbouring countries within 12 hours of notification.
Director-general Datuk Hamzah Abu Bakar said its personnel had proven themselves during the tsunami disaster and fire-fighting missions in Sumatra.
Hamzah said his department relied on the Meteorological Department to monitor hotspots in the country.
“All information on hotspots and weather will be directed to us. We are monitoring a number of areas in the country that usually have forest fires, but currently there are no hotspots except in Rompin, Pahang,” he said.