Stop blame game and bring haze culprits to justice, Malaysia and Indonesia told

Klang MP Charles Santiago urged for an end to the finger pointing between Malaysia and Indonesia over which nation should be held accountable for the haze. — Picture by Hari Anggara
Klang MP Charles Santiago urged for an end to the finger pointing between Malaysia and Indonesia over which nation should be held accountable for the haze. — Picture by Hari Anggara

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 14 — A DAP lawmaker has called for a joint investigation team (JIT) to be formed to bring those responsible for constant transboundary haze to justice.

Klang Member of Parliament Charles Santiago today also urged for an end to the finger pointing, mostly between Malaysia and Indonesia, over which nation should be held accountable for the haze.

“A joint investigation team should be set up by Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore to find and bring those responsible for the forest fires in Sumatra and Kalimantan to justice, and stop this blame game with everyone pointing the finger at someone else,” Santiago said through a statement issued today.

He cited how Singapore’s move to fine several Indonesian companies under the island nation’s Transboundary Haze Pollution Act 2014, could be followed to put an end hazard. 

“Malaysia can emulate Singapore’s move to pass the Transboundary Haze Pollution Act 2014 which allows regulators to prosecute companies and individuals that cause severe air pollution in Singapore by burning forests and peatlands in neighbouring countries.

“This act gives Singaporean authorities the power to go after companies that cause haze, even though they have no operations in the city-state,” read his statement.

He explained how a clause within the Singaporean act allowed them to issue fines of S$100,000 (RM303,515) for each day a local or foreign company is found to be guilty of contributing to unhealthy levels of haze pollution in their country, with the maximum fine capped at S$2 million.

This comes after a Malaysian company Kuala Lumpur Kepong (KLK) Bhd had confirmed today that one of its Indonesian subsidiaries was involved in the current torching or forests that resulted in the transboundary haze.

Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Minister Yeo Bee Yin also said today that importance should be given towards putting out and stopping the fires permanently to eliminate the issue of the haze at its source.

Santiago today also urged Malaysia to take the lead in efforts towards tackling the seemingly annual health hazard through regional cooperation, in particular the Asean Coordinating Centre for Transboundary Haze Pollution Control (ACCT-HPC).

“The crux of the problem of transboundary haze is the systemic causes of the forest fires, and the corporate activities which are largely responsible for them.

“Effective action must then be taken to stop these unsustainable forestry and plantation activities, including in preventing the use of fire in land clearing activities,” he said.

Yesterday, Indonesia sealed off land at 29 plantations including several that it insists are Malaysian-owned, in a move motivated by its zeal to prove that Indonesia was not solely at fault for the crisis.

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