Time has come for Najib fly to Jakarta for emergency meeting with Yudhoyono on haze

Having declared emergency status for Muar and Ledang because the Air Pollutant Index (API) readings there have reached the dangerous level of 746 at 7 am today, and probably also for Bukit Rambai and Malacca town with API 428 and 415 respectively at 11 am, the time has come for the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to fly to Jakarta for an emergency meeting with President Yudhoyono on the haze catastrophe choking millions of people in the three ASEAN countries of Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia.

Top of his agenda with the Indonesian President must be the Indonesian ratification of the Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution 2002 which provides for a ASEAN Regional Haze Action Plan with provisions on monitoring, assessment, prevention, scientific research and technical co-operation as well as lines of communication and simplified customs and immigration procedures for disaster relief.

Although the ASEAN Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution have been ratified by nine ASEAN member states, Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia has not ratified it.

With the declaration of emergency status in Muar and Ledang, and the possibility of the extension of the status of emergency to other areas severely hit by the haze catastrophe, it is imperative that Najib should take this issue to the highest levels between the two ASEAN countries to find a solution to a perennial problem threatening the health and quality of life of millions of people in ASEAN.

Lim Kit Siang DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Gelang Patah