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Malaysia Warns Indonesia On Constant, Choking Smog From Fires - AFP

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hatrack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 12:09 PM
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Malaysia Warns Indonesia On Constant, Choking Smog From Fires - AFP
KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) - Malaysia's health minister has warned of resentment against Indonesia and economic fallout as thick haze caused by Indonesian forest fires caused a sharp deterioration in air quality. Malaysia also issued a hazard warning for ships plying the Malacca Strait on Monday after haze caused visibility to drop along the vital waterway.

Indonesia has been blamed for much of the haze from illegal land-clearing fires on Sumatra and the Indonesian portion of Borneo, and Health Minister Chua Soi Lek called on the country to step up its efforts to tackle the crisis. "We hope that the Indonesian government becomes more proactive in helping to solve this problem, because it not only causes resentment among our people, it also has economic implications," Chua told reporters. "In terms of tourism, outdoor activities, even hawkers (street vendors) at night are affected," he said.

Visibility dropped in eastern Sarawak state on Borneo island and parts of peninsular Malaysia's west and south, while the meterological department said it be below five kilometres (three miles) in the Malacca Strait until Thursday. "This situation is hazardous to ships without navigational equipment," it said in a statement.

Environment department data showed air quality was at unhealthy levels in 14 areas in the country's west and south, including Kuala Lumpur and the administrative capital of Putrajaya.

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