Malaysian minister dismisses calls to resign over haze conflict, Latest World News - The New Paper

Malaysian minister dismisses calls to resign over haze conflict

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SERI ISKANDAR, PERAK Malaysian Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Minister Yeo Bee Yin has brushed aside calls for her resignation over a supposed conflict of interest in handling the transboundary haze issue.

Responding to media questions about an oil palm plantation in Indonesia linked to her husband's company, IOI Corporation, which is said to be among companies causing the regional haze, Ms Yeo said the matter should be handled by the Indonesian government.

She said Indonesia should first investigate the matter and take necessary action against any company found guilty of the offence.


"I hope that instead of criticising, the opposition can give constructive ideas to resolve similar issues in the future. This situation has been occurring for decades, and we welcome ideas from either the government or the opposition," she said on Tuesday.

"If there are constructive ideas, we will accept and execute them," she said.

It was reported that four plantation companies in Indonesia with ties to Malaysians were among the industry players blamed for causing the haze blanketing the region, because of slash-and-burn land-clearing methods.

Malaysian Chinese Association Youth chief Nicole Wong has called for Ms Yeo, who is married to IOI Properties Group chief executive Lee Yeow Seng, to step down.

Ms Yeo said a new law that would see Malaysian companies and individuals causing pollution overseas being held accountable was being drawn up.

"We are preparing the policy and will take it to the Cabinet for approval. Once approved, a draft will be prepared," she said.

Ms Yeo said while it usually took months - sometimes years - to bring a new law into effect, her ministry had contacted the Attorney-General's Chambers about the urgency.

"We will work closely with the AGC once we receive the nod from the Cabinet," she said. - THE STAR