His Excellency Drs. H.
Indonesian Ambassador To Malaysia
Jalan Tun Razak,
Demand For Compensation For
Indonesia’s Failure To Prevent The Annual Haze Disaster That Has
Caused Devastating Economic Losses And Severely Affected The Health
And Lifestyle Of Malaysians.
Parts of Malaysia are now in a
state of emergency not because of external threats, economic disorder
or internal civil war but air pollution, a situation never
contemplated by our founding fathers. This tragic state is brought
about by the uncontrolled burning of forests in the swampy, remote
area of Rokan Hilir on Sumatra's east coast, around 100 kilometers (62
miles) from Malaysia.
On behalf of Malaysians, the DAP
wishes to demand that Indonesia pay compensation for Indonesia’s
failure to prevent the annual haze disaster that has caused
devastating economic losses and severely affected the health and
lifestyle of Malaysians.
Whilst we appreciate the
immediate apology made by the Indonesian government, mere apology is
insufficient when we breathe in “poisonous” air continuously 24 hours
a day exceeding the Air Pollution Index of 500, our children’s health
are threatened, our children can not attend schools and we can not
even go to work.
We want the Indonesian
government to know that Malaysians are suffering because of the forest
fires which you failed to prevent.
Having cognizance that the haze
from major fires on Sumatra and Borneo islands in 1997 and 1998 made
many in Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand sick and caused regional
economies $9 billion in damage to their farming, transport and tourism
sectors, Indonesia’s failure to stop slash and burn tactics is both
irresponsible and unacceptable.
We recognize that Indonesia has
severe laws that impose harsh penalties, including the death penalty,
on those who illegally burn forests to clear them for planting oil
palm. However such penalties are ineffective without enforcement. The
state of emergency in some parts of Malaysia requires us to protest in
the strongest possible terms at the lack of seriousness and commitment
to remove the source of hot spots in Sumatra and Borneo.
Whilst the Malaysian government
has not demanded compensation out of the need to preserve good
neigbourly relations, we believe that the majority of 25 million Malaysians
are angry that all the rhetoric in preventing the recurrence of haze,
including the setting of an ASEAN inter-regional committee on haze,
are just hot air.
wish to demonstrate our anger at Indonesia for causing the haze to
reach hazardous levels and force us to breathe “poisonous” air as well
as the indifferent attitude and lack of seriousness in addressing this
protest in the strongest possible terms at Indonesia’ failure to
prevent slash and burn of your own forests causing untold damage to
our health and children’s well-being as well as the billions of
ringgit in losses to our economy.
urge that Indonesia demonstrates its commitment to ASEAN solidarity
and good neigbourliness by taking immediate steps to put out forest
fires in Indonesia and Borneo, including asking for the assistance of
demand that Indonesia make full compensation to Malaysians for
the losses suffered.
LIM GUAN ENG