Jokowi wants immediate action on forest fires

JAKARTA, Oct 8 : Indonesian President Joko Widodo warned that smoke from forest and land fires in the country has the potential to spread widely.

He also ordered that top military and police officers, as well as the regional government take immediate action to overcome the problem.

“Indeed every fire produces smoke that can spread widely if it is carried by the wind,” said Joko Widodo, popularly known as Jokowi.

“Every point of fire, no matter how small, must be controlled to prevent it from spreading,” he emphasised in a statement.

He commented on the increase in air pollution in neighbouring countries following the smoke from fires in Sumatra and Kalimantan, Indonesia.

Jokowi said the temperature in his country is now hotter than normal so the dry season lasts long and has the potential to increase and expand hotspots in several regions.

However, he is confident that the fire control efforts being carried out now are better compared to the forest fires in 2015.

“We can still control it well here,” he said.

The peak of the dry season in Indonesia is expected to occur this month, following the increase in hot spots from August with several regions including Java not receiving rain for the past three months.

Malaysia is ready to work together to deal with the forest and land fires that are currently raging in several regions in Indonesia if necessary, according to the Indonesian Foreign Ministry.

The offer was made in an official letter sent by Minister of Natural Resources, Environment and Climate Change Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad to his Indonesian counterpart Siti Nurbaya Bakar.

The Malaysian Consulate in Pontianak donated six water pumps to the government of West Kalimantan in August for the prevention and control of forest and land fires.

In an official statement last Monday, Siti Nurbaya explained that Malaysia’s complaint about Indonesia’s haze was inaccurate.

“We have been monitoring the situation, and no cross-border haze has reached Malaysia,” she said.