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Malaysia To Act Against Haze-Causing Plantations

AFP photo of the Twin Towers surrounded in haze.

Kuala Lumpur (AFP) Aug 23, 2005
Malaysia said Tuesday it will take action against four plantations which conducted open burning during the haze crisis that recently choked parts of the country.

"We have almost completed our investigations into the four cases while investigations are still ongoing for another 10 cases," environment department director-general Rosnani Ibarahim was quoted as saying by the official Bernama news agency.

Most of the smoke and dust that triggered the crisis came from hundreds of fires on Indonesia's Sumatra island, but fires on Malaysian territory also contributed to the pollution.

Rosnani declined to reveal the identities of those involved but said they were both small and large concerns located in central Pahang state, northern Perak state and central Selangor.

"At the moment, we are still gathering evidence. Once we charge them in court, we will let you know," she said.

Malaysian firms operating plantations on Indonesia's Sumatra island have also been accused of conducting open burning responsible for the haze that hung over Malaysia and Thailand this month.

They have reportedly denied using slash-and-burn methods and said smallholders on the fringes of their plantations were the culprits.

Indonesia's forestry ministry earlier said that eight out of 10 plantation firms accused of burning to clear land for cultivation were Malaysian-owned.

The haze this month smothered Kuala Lumpur and surrounding districts as well as the west coast, shutting down the country's biggest port as pollution reached extremely hazardous levels.

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Malaysia To Start Cloud Seeding In Indonesia: Minister
Kuala Lumpur (AFP) Aug 19, 2005
Malaysia will start cloud seeding in Indonesia's Sumatra and Kalimantan provinces next week amid warnings that the haze crisis caused by forest fires there could flare up again, a minister said Friday.

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