Actually I wanted to write something positive about Jokowi and his team tackling the haze problem last month but had to hold back when haze struck again. Two weeks had passed and the situation is not that bad after all if one is to look back last couple of years around this time. Haze would have engulfed the island by now and for a month at least if the Indonesians have not done something positive to improve the situation. Since August, we only have a few bad days but still tolerable, thanks to the effort by the Indonesians in what they are doing.
We should not expect the haze problem to go away overnight. This perennial problem was allowed to build up over the years through neglect and tiada apa attitude on both sides, allowing the culprit to think they could get away with murder. The Jokowi team has been on it only a few months and must admit there are clear signs of improvement and we could breathe easier. If the condition can be maintained and better in the next few months, we must send a thank you note to the Indonesians. They meant business and are doing everything they could to curb this annual problem facing the neighbouring countries.
Yesterday the Indonesia pulled out another trump card to make sure the people on the ground, the small plantation owners, understand the seriousness of the haze. The nation’s top Muslim agency was brought in to issue a fatwa against burning forests and making a profit from it. Both are declared as haram, against the teachings of Islam. How much more can we expect the Indonesians to go to control and manage this problem?
This is the first time the Indonesians are putting money where their mouth is. They are working at it seriously, conscientiously. Give them a bit more time and the haze problem is likely to be a problem of the past.
Thank you Jokowi and the Indonesian haze management team.