The haze that originates from Sumatra and Kalimantan has blanketed Malaysia to the point the country had a spat with the Indonesian authorities on the handling of the crisis.

But the Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said that other than to criticise Indonesia for its handling of the forest and land fires nothing much can be done.

Many criticised the Indonesian government for its handling of the source of the smog and are still watching to see if the country will take action against the perpetrators of the environmental hazard.

Nevertheless, the haze crisis that has forced many schools in Malaysia to close for a certain period and polluted the country for days, is here to stay, says Dr Mahathir.

However, he said sooner or later, with the haze getting worse with the years going by, “The time will come, the UN will have to tackle the problem. This is no longer a national problem, this is a problem for the world and the world must act.”

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According to him, currently the UN cannot do anything to tackle the problem. However, Mahathir believes it will happen.

He related the Indonesian fires to the Brazilian forest burning in the Amazon, saying if the Brazilian President did not bother about forest burning to promote agriculture, no one can stop them.
He said this is a national matter in Brazil.
Similarly, it is a national affair in Indonesia and Malaysia and other countries cannot interfere much.
“You can blame Indonesia, you can criticize them, but the fire will still be there,” he said, adding that soon the forest fires would become so severe that it will envelop the whole world in smoke. If that happens, the UN must speak up.
The Malaysian PM was speaking at the World Leaders Forum dialogue at Columbia University, New York. He was replying to questions on whether economic sanctions or bringing the issue to the spotlight of the international community would force Indonesia to tackle the haze problem.
However, the Indonesian Minister of Environment and Forestry Siti Nurbaya is adamant that her country has handled the problem systematically.
She said as much as 300 million litres of water were used to extinguish fires and law enforcement measures have been carried out by the National Police.
She also said there were no discussions with other countries for assistance but the smog has diminished and is not disturbing other countries in the region. -/TISG