Malaysia wants Asean countries to take measures to control forest and peat fires to prevent transboundary haze. - FILE PIC

Malaysia will table all the measures it had taken to prevent open burning and haze at the 21st Technical Working Group and Sub-Regional Ministerial Steering Committee Transboundary Haze Pollution meeting.

The meeting in Brunei Darussalam, which ends today, will include the updating of the nation’s National Haze Action Plan and the implementation of the new National Open Burning Action Plan.

The five countries involved in this year’s meeting, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand, will discuss the necessary steps to address transboundary haze, in accordance with the Asean agreement on the matter.

In a statement, the Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Ministry said the Malaysian delegation would be led by its deputy minister, Isnaraissah Munirah Majilis.

“Malaysia will urge member countries to take proactive measures in ensuring forest and peat fires in Asean countries are controlled to prevent the occurrence of transboundary haze,” it said.

Data from the Asean Specialised Meteorological Centre revealed 25 hotspots, a decrease from 39 on Sunday.

From the total, 23 hotspots were in Kalimantan and two were in Sabah. The ministry said some hotspots could not be detected due to heavy clouds.

“The wind from the northwest has brought haze from affected areas in Sumatra and Kalimantan to the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia and west Sarawak, which contributed to the rise in Air Pollutant Index readings.

“Weather forecasts until Aug 6 (today) by the Malaysian Meteorological Department have found that the country is in the phase of the southwest monsoon, which is expected to continue until mid-September.

“The Wipha tropical storm approaching northern Vietnam is expected to weaken and completely disappear from Aug 4,” the ministry said, adding that another low-pressure system was being formed near the western Philippines.

It said these weather conditions affected the wind patterns in the region, and the weather was expected to be dry during the forecasted period.

The ministry said it would monitor the status and air quality trend hourly, following the increase in the number of hotspots in Sumatra and Kalimantan in Indonesia, which could potentially cause transboundary haze pollution in the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia and Sarawak.

“At the same time, investigations and enforcement will continue on hotspots identified locally. To address the hot and dry weather, all agencies involved in haze pollution management will actively implement open burning prevention efforts that could lead to haze,” it added.

The ministry has advised state and local governments, and all land owners to monitor areas prone to open burning such as landfills, forests, peat lands, farms, agricultural and industrial areas.

“Take steps to prevent intrusion by irresponsible parties who may conduct open burning.”