KUALA LUMPUR, May 26 — The government will refine its strategy and strengthen bilateral ties with neighbouring countries along with multilateral relations at the Association of South East Asian Nations (Asean) region to tackle the southwest monsoon and the El Nino phenomenon.
For this purpose, Natural Resources, Environment and Climate Change Minister Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad said that he would lead the Malaysian delegation to the Asean Environment Ministers’ Meeting, the 24th Sub-Regional Ministerial Steering Committee (MSC) meeting and the Technical Working Group (TWG) meeting on cross border haze on June 7 and 9 in Singapore.
“The meeting will discuss preparations among MSC countries in facing the dry and hot weather and the possibility of the El Nino phenomenon,” he said in a statement today.
He had earlier chaired the National Haze and Dry Weather Main Committee meeting in Putrajaya today, which among other things, presented an updated report on the weather, air quality, actions and strategies to curb open burning and local haze, along with preparations to face possible cross border haze
The Malaysian Meteorological Department (MetMalaysia) had also informed during the meeting that the country was now in the southwest monsoon phase, which is expected to carry on till September 2023, with even drier conditions compared to phases from 2020 to 2022, he said.
“Currently the El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is neutral and the El Nino is expected to occur in the second half of 2023, with a possibility of 82 per cent.
“Based on current weather conditions, local and cross-border haze can occur if there is uncontrolled open burning,” Nik Nazmi said.
A total of 1,845 open fires were recorded from January 1 till yesterday, he said, and there were five large-scale fires reported recently involving peat forest land, landfills and illegal dumping grounds.
“At this time, three fires have been fully put out and all departments, agencies and state governments involved are asked to intensify fire prevention efforts to ensure such incidents do not recur.
“The Department of Environment has issued 236 field citations, 45 compounds, 68 order notices and a court action for open fire offenses within this period,” he added.