(Teluk Intan, Wednesday): On Monday, Information Minister Datuk Mohamed Rahmat announced that the National Haze Committee chaired by the Science, Technology and Environment Minister, Datuk Law Hieng Ding, had taken over the responsibility of tackling the haze problem from the National Disaster Management and Relief Committee because of the improving air quality nationwide, with the Air Pollutant Index (API) no longer at the hazardous level.
Mohamed Rahmat, who is chairman of the National Disaster Management and Relief Committee, said that his committee would take over the task when the API breached the 300 level.
The 1997 haze is the worst haze in Malaysian history, even worse than the haze in 1990, 1991 and 1994. It should be declared a national disaster regardless of the daily API readings until the haze disaster ends, which could be in November, December or even next year.
I call on the government to establish a National Haze Disaster Committee which should regard the 1997 Haze, the worst air pollution in history, as a national disaster regardless of the daily API readings and be responsible for addressing this national disaster until its end, especially in educating and sensitizing Malaysians about the life and health-threatening effects of haze.
This National Haze Disaster Committee should be headed by a person who commands public confidence, and clearly this person is not Datuk Mohamed Rahmat.
It is ridiculous for the task of addressing the haze disaster to be juggled between the National Disaster Management and Relief Committee and the National Haze Committee depending on the API reading reaching the 300 hazardous level, when the government should be impressing on Malaysians that the haze is a national disaster, regardless of the daily API readings, until the end of the entire life and health-threatening haze.