Sunday, June 23, 2013

HAZE UPDATE:Malaysia hopes to expedite MSC on Transboundary Haze Pollution

Malaysia hopes to push for the 15th Meeting of the Sub-Regional Ministerial Steering Committee (MSC) on Transboundary Haze Pollution, that is scheduled to be held here this August, to be expedited.

Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri G. Palanivel said this was in view of the worsening haze situation in the region.

"If possible we want it to be held in early July. We do not want to wait until the end of August because we want to resolve the matter as soon as possible.

"To date, only Indonesia, among the Asean countries, has not ratified the Asean Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution (CO5)," he told reporters here today.

Earlier, he witnessed the signing of a memorandum of understanding on giant panda conservation and research between the Peninsular Malaysia Department of Wildlife and National Parks, represented by its director Datuk Abd Rasid Samsudin, and the Malaysian Zoological Society (MZS), represented by its president Datuk Dr. Zaharin Md Arif.

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Palanivel said he had discussed with Singapore's Environment Minister Vivian Balakrishnan to jointly raise the issue at the MSC meeting (Aug 19 until Aug 21).

He also revealed that he would discuss with Indonesia's Environment Minister Prof Dr Balthasar Kambuaya next Wednesday on the CO5 ratification and Malaysia's offer to provide cloud-seeding assistance to the republic to help minimise the haze.

"We are offering the assistance to Indonesia because the haze originated from its burning forests, but it depends on Indonesia whether to accept Malaysia's offer or not," he added.

On the 10-year joint endeavour between the department and MZS, he said the special exhibit being built for China's gift to Malaysia of giant panda pair, Fu Wa and Feng Yi, was expected to be completed in November this year.

"As soon as it is ready, the panda pair would be brought over from China to Zoo Negara," he said.

Palanivel said the ministry would also upgrade facilities at Zoo Negara, as well as introduce a night safari.

"The ministry will table a working paper on the matter at the cabinet meeting next week. At present, only the Taiping Zoo has a night safari as it has adequate facilities.

"With a night safari, I am confident Zoo Negara will be able to attract more local and foreign visitors," he added.

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