Malaysia ditches law to combat forest fire smog

Malaysia was criticized Tuesday for abandoning plans to introduce legislation that would have punished its firms operating in neighboring Indonesia if they are found to have caused smog-belching forest fires.

(Jakarta Post) – Massive blazes, often started to clear land for palm oil plantations, burn out of control in Indonesia every year, blanketing the region in toxic smoke.

Last year’s were the worst since 2015 due to dry weather, with the haze forcing many schools in Indonesia and Malaysia to close and putting the health of millions at risk.

Indonesia claimed that fires had blazed out of control on some plantations owned by several Malaysian firms.

This prompted the Malaysian government to look at drafting a law that would have punished companies from the country found to have contributed to causing smog-producing fires overseas.

But a new administration that took office in March announced Monday it was ditching the plan.

Environment Minister Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man said officials would instead work with other countries in the region to tackle the problem and pointed to a similar law in Singapore, which has been criticized as ineffective.

Read more here