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Jakarta Post: ‘We need all the help we can get’

This article is more than 12 months old

Indonesian newspaper Jakarta Post in an editorial asked why the Indonesian government is not accepting help from neighbouring countries to fight the haze.

The editorial quotes Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad as saying his country had offered to help but was baffled the offer was not accepted.

The editorial said: "In response to the defensive attitude among some Indonesian authorities, leaders from neighbouring countries reiterate that no one is blaming anyone. Indonesian police have made arrests of several people suspected of causing the fires, but of course this does not answer the need to simply inhale breathable air, no matter where the foul smog is coming from.

"Residents affected by the haze in Indonesia and neighbouring countries have every right to question Indonesia's commitment not only to compliance with a regional treaty on haze, but also to the well-being of its own citizens and that of its neighbours."

The editorial said it would be difficult at the upcoming United Nations General Assembly in New York for Indonesia to answer questions "regarding the impression, at least, that Indonesia, which has secured a non-permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council, seems to be refusing assistance to put out fires".

The editorial ended by saying: "Optimism that we can contain the fires ourselves does not help while children suffer even more from the effect of toxic pollutants compared with adults.

"Rushing the children to the nearest health facilities involves slow, careful navigation when parents cannot even see anything 10m ahead. We need all the help we can get. Now."