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Emergency Summit Meeting between Abdullah and Susilo to agree on a regional and international anti-haze response plan

Media Statement (2)
by Lim Kit Siang  

(Parliament, Friday): With the emergency haze declared for Kuala Selangor and Port Klang yesterday, the 2005 haze may prove to be a bigger environmental, health and economic catastrophe than in 1997, which caused tens of billions of ringgit of losses; air, sea and land havoc, which closed  down Malaysian airports, grounded flights, responsible for the Garuda airbus jet crash in Medan on September 26, 1997 which killed 234 people, collision of ships in the Straits of Malacca and road fatalities, including  the death of a Penang State Assemblyman in a road accident.

The haze should be regarded as a regional and even international disaster and no country should stand on its national sensitivities about sovereignty and should agree to a regional and international response plan.

For this reason, there should be an urgent summit of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to declare an ASEAN state of environment emergency and to set up an ASEAN Haze Crisis Control Centre with full powers to deploy national and international forces to bring the raging forest fires  in Sumatra under control.

ASEAN nations affected by the haze should pool their resources in the ASEAN Haze Crisis Control Centre, which should also enlist the co-operation of countries with special expertise to fight forest fires like the United States, Australia and Canada, to devise and implement a strategy to bring the raging forest fires under control, with all the enforcement agencies and personnel in the affected countries giving full support to back up and implement the strategy through their respective national instruments and laws.

As a supplement, there should be a daily meeting of the Malaysian and Indonesian Environment Ministers through the technology of videoconferencing to monitor the daily developments of the haze crisis and to underline the importance of regional and international efforts to fight the worst environment disaster in the area.



*  Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman

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