1. The United Nations Association of Malaysia (UNAM) views with utmost gravity the reoccurrence of the hazardous and toxic transboundary haze situation that continues unabated, affecting Malaysia and parts of Southeast Asia at unprecedented and dangerous levels this year.
2. Although such air pollution threatens the rights to health and livelihoods of everyone, UNAM is profoundly concerned that the poorest and most marginalised people are the most affected.
3. UNAM is deeply dismayed that the expected collective actions by ASEAN do not appear to be forthcoming despite the ASEAN Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution that was signed as early as 2002. UNAM underlines that the Malaysian public have a right to expect that the government and its structures take adequate steps to address and contain this alarming and annually reoccurring situation. The assurances given by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs have yet to produce expected results.
4. UNAM hopes that the Ministry of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change (MESTECC) will be able to utilise the ASEAN agreement to play an operational role even if there are inherent weakness in the agreement. UNAM would welcome the setting up of an inter-ministerial committee as there must be an all-of-government approach in addressing the situation.
5. The people in the region have yet to see in place collective preventive measures, which in our view indicates serious weaknesses in environmental governance, law enforcement and sustainable, equitable and accountable development in the region.
To conclude, UNAM would like put emphasis on upholding the Sustainable Development Goal 15, realising that our current measures to rectify the issue contradict our quality of life on land. Such values and commitments upheld by the United Nations should be at the heart of resolving this regional crisis.
Tan Sri Razali Ismail
United Nations Association of Malaysia,
C/o Level 3A,Holiday Villas.
47500 Subang Jaya.