Asia Malaysia Malaysia ditches law to combat forest fire smog

Malaysia ditches law to combat forest fire smog

Last year's were the worst since 2015 due to dry weather, with the haze forcing many schools in Indonesia and Malaysia to close and putting the health of millions at risk.




- Advertisement -

Malaysia was criticised Tuesday for abandoning plans to introduce legislation that would have punished its firms operating in neighbouring Indonesia if they are found to have caused smog-belching forest fires.

Massive blazes, often started to clear land for palm oil plantations, burn out of control in Indonesia every year, blanketing the region in toxic smoke.

Last year’s were the worst since 2015 due to dry weather, with the haze forcing many schools in Indonesia and Malaysia to close and putting the health of millions at risk.

Indonesia claimed that fires had blazed out of control on some plantations owned by several Malaysian firms.

- Advertisement -

This prompted the Malaysian government to look at drafting a law that would have punished companies from the country found to have contributed to causing smog-producing fires overseas.

But a new administration that took office in March announced Monday it was ditching the plan.

Environment Minister Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man said officials would instead work with other countries in the region to tackle the problem and pointed to a similar law in Singapore, which has been criticised as ineffective.

But Greenpeace Malaysia campaigner Heng Kiah Chun criticised the “premature shelving” of the law.

“Taking action against Malaysian-owned companies operating abroad that contribute to the haze is a good step to ensure that the companies operate responsibly,” he told AFP.

“The haze has been affecting Southeast Asian countries for years — tackling this regional haze is in the interest of everyone.”

Indonesia has already been hit by fire outbreaks this year, although there has not been a major spread of smog across the region yet.

Last month, an Indonesian province on Borneo island declared a state of emergency while in May tens of thousands of personnel and water-bombing aircraft were deployed to tackle the season’s first blazes.

There are growing fears over Indonesia’s ability to tackle the crisis this year, with funds and personnel redirected to battling an escalating coronavirus outbreak.


© Agence France-Presse


Send in your scoop to 

- Advertisement -

JTC issues stop-work order on contractor that ‘erroneously’ cleared Kranji woodlands

Singapore – The contractor that “erroneously” cleared a forested area at Kranji has announced it has been issued a stop-work order by JTC and is assisting the developer with investigations on the issue. On Feb 16, state-owned industrial property developer JTC responded...

Clementi, Dover, Kranji: Singapore’s grand conservation plan is to plant trees and destroy forests

Yes, we love to plant trees. Since Lee Kuan Yew started the whole ritual, at least 10,000 saplings are planted every year since 1963 as part of the Tree Planting campaign. Impressive indeed. Singapore Clean and Green. At the same time,...

Ex-UOB vice-president charged with mishandling over S$5.4 million

Singapore—Sixty-five-year-old Ling Shek Lun, who used to be a  vice-president at UOB, has been charged with mishandling millions of dollars, reported (ST) on Friday (Feb 19). Ling, a Singaporean who was charged in district court on Feb 10, faces two charges...

Send in your scoop to