Monday, 21 October, 2019

Indonesia detains 230 people in connection with forest fires

Haze closes Malaysia schools, sparks fears for Singapore F1 Malaysia PM suggests law to force companies to stop fires abroad
Patty Aguilar | 20 September, 2019, 00:42

During a visit to Riau province in central Sumatra yesterday, Mr Joko said almost 6,000 troops had been sent to hot spots to help the 9,000 already there to put out fires, AFP reported.

Close to 2,500 faculties were ordered to shut their doors in Malaysia - alongside with nearly 300 within the smog-hit capital Kuala Lumpur - over hovering smartly being concerns sparked by poisonous haze from out-of-non-public an eye on blazes in Indonesia's Sumatra and Borneo islands.

A four-month-old baby and a 59-year-old plantation worker are reported to have died from respiratory problems and Jakarta has deployed thousands of troops and water-bombing aircraft to help control the fires across Sumatra and Borneo islands.

Almost 1,500 schools have closed across Malaysia as haze conditions worsened, affecting more than 1 million students, according to a statement from the country's education ministry.

Singapore, directly across the Strait of Malacca from Indonesia's Riau province on the island of Sumatra, experienced air pollution levels ranging between moderate and unhealthy levels on Thursday.

Dr Mahathir said Malaysia has taken a few measures in tackling the effect of the haze, such as cloud seeding, "confining" people in houses and closing schools, but there is also a need to find new ways to reduce the haze. Poor visibility closed several airports in the Indonesian part of Borneo, and scores of flights have already been diverted and canceled in the region in recent days due to the smog.

Air quality in Singapore worsened to unhealthy levels and a white smog obscured the striking waterfront skyline, featuring the Marina Bay Sands casino resort with its three towers and boat-shaped top level.

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The haze crisis comes as Singapore gears up to host a Formula One motor race on Sunday.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad said Malaysia was considering a new law to compel its companies to tackle fires on land they control overseas.

Among its efforts to tackle the hazard, Malaysia could pass a new law to punish any of its companies responsible for starting fires, but only global cooperation could yield a lasting solution, Yeo added.

Teresa Kok, Malaysia's minister in charge of palm oil, said last week any report of fires on land controlled by Malaysian companies was a "serious accusation".

The smoke has blanketed parts of Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia and southern Thailand in a noxious haze. But this year's fires have been worsened by dry weather and experts believe there is little chance of them being extinguished until the onset of the rainy season in October.

The Indonesian Disaster Mitigation Agency detected 2,719 hot spots across the country on Thursday.

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