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Indonesia: Malaysian haze that closed 400 schools is not from us

Christian Fernsby |
Haze that has blanketed parts of Malaysia came from forest fires in that country, and not from Indonesia.

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Authorities in the Malaysian state of Sarawak on Borneo island were forced to close more than 400 schools after air pollution reached unhealthy levels as a result of haze blamed on forest fires in Indonesia, Malaysian media reported.

But Indonesia's Forestry Ministry said satellite images taken last week indicated the presence of forest fires in Malaysia.

"There has been a sharp increase in hot spots in parts of South-East Asia, not only in Indonesia but especially in the Malay Peninsula and parts of Vietnam," the ministry said in a statement on its website.

There were 1,423 potential fires registered on the Malaysian peninsula on September 7, an increase from 1,038 the previous day, the ministry said, adding that was also a spike in the numbers in Sarawak.

Indonesian Environment Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya Bakar accused Malaysia of not being transparent about its own forest fires.

"I will send a letter to the Malaysian ambassador," she was quoted as saying by "I think they should correct their data."

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