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Haze: Indonesia seeks outside help after failed attempts

PUTRAJAYA, Oct 23 (Bernama) -- Indonesia is seeking outside help to tackle forest fires after failed attempts at extinguishing the fires and cloud seeding operations, said minister counsellor of the Indonesian Embassy in Malaysia, Freddy M. Panggabean.

He said the matter was decided after more than 22,000 security personnel with 24 aircraft were mobilised to extinguish the fires causing haze that has affected the country and neighbouring countries.

Asked on why Indonesia took some time before asking for outside help, Freddy said each country had its own policy to control disasters internally first.

"It should not be construed as Indonesia does not want to accept outside help," he told reporters after attending a forum entitled 'Bicara Persada:

Bernafas Dalam Jerebu Sampai Bila?'(Breathing smoke until when?) at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), near here today.

Besides Malaysia, Indonesia's president Joko Widodo has also asked for assistance from Singapore, Russia and Japan.

On Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi's statement that Malaysia would not put any form of pressure on Indonesia over the haze issue, Freddy said it proved mutual understanding between the two neighbouring countries.

The statement also highlighted Malaysia's confidence towards the operations and actions that are and would be taken by the Indonesian government to tackle forest fires, he said.

Yesterday, Ahmad Zahid said that it was unfair to put any pressure on Indonesia as the country had shown strong commitment to solve the problem.


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