Najib should make special visit to Jakarta to meet with Indonesian President Yudhoyono to highlight gravity of current haze emergency to millions in three ASEAN countries
The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak should make a special visit to Jakarta to meet with the Indonesian President, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to highlight the gravity of the current haze emergency to millions of people in three ASEAN countries, in particular to the three states of Johore, Malacca and Negri Sembilan in Malaysia, and the need for urgent common Asean action to bring the perennial transboundary emergency under control.
The Singapore Environment Minister Vivian Balakrishnan flew to Jakarta yesterday and met with his Indonesian counterpart Environment Minister Balthasar Kambuaya on the haze emergency, with a letter from the Singapore Prime Minister to the Indonesian President.
In contrast, the Malaysian Environment Minister Datuk Seri G. Palanivel is only going to Indonesia to meet with Indonesian government officials next Wednesday, more than a week after the outbreak of the latest haze emergency which have been posed serious health and environment threats to the people in Johore, Malacca and Negri Sembilan, resulting in the closure of some 700 schools.
Why is the Malaysian Environment Minister so slow and tardy in rising up to the challenges of the latest haze emergency afflicting Malaysians?
May be there are two reasons: Firstly, the Federal capital have so far been spared from the “very unhealthy” (API 200 – 300) and “hazardous” (API > 300) Air Pollution Index readings, which have so far affected the three states of Johore, Malacca and Negri Sembilan and the workings of the “Federal Capital complex” that unless the federal capital is affected, there is no national emergency needing immediate attention of the Prime Minister and the Federal Cabinet.
Secondly, the appointment of an Environment Minister, Datuk Seri G. Palanivel who is probably the most “lightweight” Environment Minister in the nation’s history.
When Palanivel is facing problem asserting his authority in MIC, how can we expect the Environment Minister to speak and act with authority not only in the Malaysian government but in ASEAN forums?
No wonder Palanivel can only talk about asking the National Security Council to activate the haze management co-ordination committee in view of the haze emergency, but not the authority to influence the immediate activation of the committee.
Where is the sense of responsibility and urgency by both the Minister for Environment and the National Security Council on the latest haze emergency when the haze management co-ordination committee has not been activated yet?
This has made a visit by Najib to Jakarta to meet with Indonesian President Yudhoyona on the haze emergency all the more imperative, as Najib should go beyond tweets and facebook to provide leadership both Malaysian and ASEAN to deal with the latest haze emergency afflicting three ASEAN countries.