Saturday, October 07, 2006

Irresponsible Indonesia

It’s little wonder that among the Asean 10 in ratifying the Asean Transboundary Haze Treaty, Indonesia alone has refused to put pen to the signature block of the pact.

Indonesia has been the region’s biggest and most dangerous polluter. Year in, year out, for decades, its irresponsible burnings of the padi fields and cleared jungle areas have sent carcinogenic smoke across to Malaysia (including Sarawak) and Singapore during the southwest monsoon period, which is usually from May to September.

Professor Dr Azizan Abu Samah of Universiti Malaya said that Indonesia could ameliorate the haze hazard for Malaysia if it manages its burning season in February rather than October, as by then (February) the northeast monsoon winds will start to blow across Malaysia towards the southwest.

While it’s not for me to question a university professor of geography, I think the professor’s suggestion of February could be a wee late, though not adverse to his suggestion for improving the Indonesian-created environmental situation for us. I would recommend anytime from December to March.

The monsoon periods for Malaysia are the SW monsoon (May to September) and NE monsoon (November to March) – however, the prevailing winds don’t just start promptly on those months as if there is an ON/OFF or rather FWD/RVR switch. There would inevitably be some lag and overlap, the latter known as the convergence of the trade winds.

The in-between months of the two monsoon periods will see the Inter-Convergence Zone (ITCZ) crossing Malaysia as it follows the sun, which would be southwards (theoretically) in October and northwards in April. The ITCZ is a atmospheric band of convergence marking where the NE and SE trade winds meet, giving rise to some local thunderstorm activities where the ITCZ straddles Malaysia as it slowly (very slowly) crosses our country, either southwards or northwards.

The NE monsoon means the prevailing winds would be blowing down from the northeast, that is, from the Arctic across China, Vietnam, and picking up moisture from the South China Sea before they cross Malaysia towards Sumatra (in the case of the peninsula) or Kalimantan (in the case of Sarawak.

If Indonesia makes an effort to manage its agricultural burnings during the correct period of the prevailing winds, which thus far it has irresponsibly failed to do so as a good regional neighbour, it would greatly relieve us from the carcinogenic hazards.

Recently, when President Bambang Susilo Yudhoyono of Indonesia attended a regional conference he showed his anxiety over his nation’s poor global citizenship - he openly expressed his hope none of the neighbouring countries would raise again the issue of smoke haze originating from Sumatra and Kalimantan. Then he made a brash statement in August this year that he wanted all the fires out by 2nd September.

So it was said (by him), and being Indonesia, so it was not done (by him). Bapak cakap ta'serupa bikin!

Most amazingly, Rubaya Thalib, the Indonesian consul-general in Kuching had the bloody brazen nerve to scream at Malaysians, telling them not to play the blame game. He said: "If everyone is playing the blame game now, the problem will not be solved. It will continue to happen. The problem now is that there is a need to find a comprehensive permanent solution to the matter."

What sort of solution has he offered for a problem caused by his country for decades? Buggerall!

The fact is that in those areas responsible for the burning, there is little enforcement activities because of massive corruption by the regional authorities. Indonesia must be held accountable regardless of whether the parties directly involved in the burning are Malaysian owned plantations in Indonesia. The enforcement agencies are not Malaysian owned, and they have failed 'due diligence' in preventing local hazardous activities that cause health problems to neighbouring countries.

The Indonesian government has shown a lack of will or even wilful ignoring of a hazard that affects principally its neighbours.

I believe that further talks with Indonesia will not solve the problem one iota.

As we don’t expect the Indonesian to do the needful and the responsible, we should not waste efforts by insisting on talks or discussions – the meaningful-ness of such useless musyawarat has long disappeared. Nor should we demand to see bullsh*t plans as if somehow Indonesia may miraculously have. There is none.

Since Indonesia has refused to do the responsible neighbourly bit by signing the Asean Transboundary Haze Treaty, it’s time for Malaysia (and even Singapore - perhaps jointly with us) to take Indonesia to the World Court for serious compensation and a court order to instruct that country to cease and desist (with hugh penalties to be levied) or manage its burning activities responsibly, without harming the people of its neighbours.

Will Malaysia have the ‘burning’ desire and the ‘fire’ (or balls) to do that, or will our cabinet indulge in another craven game of ‘smoke’ and mirrors to protect Abang Besar?


  1. I wonder when AAB SIL Mamak KJ, along with his boss in UMNO Youth i.e. Cicit Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, will organise a demonstration in front of the Indon Embassy to protest against the open burning and haze. May I suggest they include flag burning into their agenda...oh, and make sure thatit is done in the morning during working hours, eh you wankers?

  2. This must be the top International issue for our Government!

    If they think they are going to sweep it up this next election, they have another think comin.

    Welcome to the Information Age, we know more every day.

    People are just sick an tired. And I'm talkin across da board.

    Prediction: BN Down, Pas UP, KeAdilan UP, DAP UP. BN May be lucky to get 50%

    Even the race and religion cards seem more and more like the failed strategies they*.

    Hello! Newsflash! Things suck for the Malaysian pooor. Regardsless of race and religion.

    On the other hand it's been great for the rich. Regardless of race and religion too.

    Maybe that's the problem. We need more rich people. Heh!

    First time posting. Great blog for the most part. ;)

  3. Aiyah, come election time the opposition will kill off each other leaving the BN victorious in many seats. Same old story. It must be the joke of the year if we dare to take Indonesia to the World Court. 9 years ago I rememberd the Information Minister then flew to Jakarta to apologize to the Indonesian Government on behalf of all Malaysias who were protesting against the haze issue.

  4. A reader above wonders whether the famous SIL and his boss, the Youth Chief, would organise a demonstration with flag burning in front of the Indon Embassy to protest against the open burning and the consequent haze.

    We all know the answer to that, of course.

    No way would they dare to do so. Had it been a Western country that is involved no doubt you will see these fellows out in the streets yelling and flag burning and looking so fierce and "berani", because they know the Westerners will keep a civilised silence and not retaliate. These cowardly bullies know whom they can push around and whom they can't. But they know that if they mess around with the Indons these "wankers" (as the reader so aptly calls them) will know what is most likely to happen to them - their Indon cousins will come at them with parangs and sabits and slice their "wanks" off and they will become "wank-less" for ever more. That's why you see them keeping quiet as a mouse in this case.

  5. We talk and talk and talk but do people in Jakarta aware of our plight. There seem to be a block on news relating to the haze problem in Malaysia. So at a citizen level we could play our part to create awareness to the Indonesian by writing to our fellow Jakarta bloggers. Forest fire is raging at Sumatra, Kalimantan and Riau.

  6. Excellent idea, huzmid. Good on you!

  7. Heck, let's just start fires here when the winds blow westward and see how the Indonesians like it.