Wan Junaidi: MESTECC, federal Environment Minister at fault for not doing enough to tackle haze
0 month ago, 12-Sep-2019
Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar
KUCHING: The present Ministry of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change (MESTECC) is not doing enough to tackle the transboundary haze problem, said former minister of Natural Resources and Environment, Dato Sri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar.
He said the ministry should have a Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) on how to tackle the haze.
He recalled that during his time as the minister in-charge of environment (July 28, 2015 until May 10, 2018), there was a meeting on National Transboundary Haze and heat waves every year between the ministry and the government agencies such as the Fire and Rescue Department (Bomba), the police, the Royal Malaysian Air Force, Medical Department, Education Department, Meteorological Department and Sarawak NREB.
“What is happening now with the haze? MESTECC is not doing enough because we previously created a SOP on what to do in such situations.
“We had meetings, gave instructions, reminded everybody and advised the public on what we should do when the Air Pollutant Index (API) is high; should we close the schools, when to do cloud seeding, and issue notices not to conduct open burning as early as May.
“We made trips to Indonesia and had meetings with the authorities on what is the progression on how to handle fires in Riau, Jambi, Pekan Baru and Kalimantan – it is a lot of diplomatic work.
“But now, two days ago they just issued a notice not to conduct any open burning, so obviously the present minister is not doing anything,” said Wan Junaidi.
On the other hand, he said, he opposed the allegations made by the Indonesian Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya Bakar, who alleged that the haze comes from Sarawak.
“To say that the haze comes from Sarawak is unfair because data from satellite images from the Singapore-based Asean Specialised Meteorological Centre (ASMC) shows exactly where the location of hotspots are and the weather patterns in the region,” he said.
He also said that during the last ASEAN Ministerial Committee Meeting in 2017, they had agreed on a roadmap to eliminate transboundary haze.
“Indonesia said they would follow (the roadmap), but we still see haze,” he said.
However, he said the slow action by MESTECC failing to tackle the haze shows just how complacent MESTECC is.
“Honestly, I blame our minister in the federal government, because we have the roadmap in place, we have the agreement, it’s all there,” he said.