Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak today praised the Indonesian government for its commitment to tackling open-burning activities, which in previous years had triggered the transboundary haze. (Pix by MOHD RADZI BUJANG)

KUCHING: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak today praised the Indonesian government for its commitment to tackling open-burning activities, which in previous years had triggered the transboundary haze.

The prime minister recorded the appreciation on behalf of the Malaysian government at a joint press conference held after the 12th Annual Consultation Malaysia and Indonesia today.

“It has been almost two years since Malaysia was last enveloped by (transboundary) haze.

“This reflects the seriousness of the Indonesian government in putting an end to any (open-burning) activities, which could trigger haze.

“Hence, I would like to record my appreciation to the Indonesian president (Joko Widodo) and also the Indonesian government for their commitment to ensure the region is free from any haze,” said Najib to applause from the delegates comprising ministers from the Malaysian and Indonesian government.

The commitment demonstrated by the Indonesian government in resolving the issues, said Najib, has brought relief to the people in Malaysia including those in Sarawak.

Najib later announced that both Malaysia and Indonesia have agreed to enhance cooperation in forest conservation as well as efforts to save near-extinct wildlife including the Sumatran rhino and Orang Utans.

“This is in line with the Heart of Borneo initiative involving Indonesia, Malaysia and also Brunei. This is also a reflection of our seriousness towards pushing for sustainable development, which not only focuses on spurring the economy but also conservation of forests and wildlife,” said Najib.