World currently powerless to stop forest fires: Mahathir
NEW YORK — Under today’s international system, the world is powerless to make Indonesia tackle the forest fires that have led to widespread haze in South-east Asia, said Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.
NEW YORK — The world is powerless to make Indonesia tackle the forest fires that have led to widespread haze in South-east Asia, said Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.
Dr Mahathir, speaking during a dialogue at the World Leaders Forum held at New York's Columbia University on Wednesday (Sept 25), drew links between Indonesia's forest fires and those burning in Brazil.
According to Malaysian news agency Bernama, Dr Mahathir said Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro “believes in burning the forest for more agriculture (activities), and nobody has stopped him yet”.
"So I think the system does not allow us to interfere in the internal affairs of other countries," Dr Mahathir added.
He also said that despite the criticism that has been directed towards Indonesia for the haze afflicting South-east Asia, fires will continue to occur there.
He also predicted that forest fires could eventually become so severe that the whole world could be enveloped by haze, Bernama reported.
At that point, Dr Mahathir said that the United Nations might decide that the world should take action, as the issue would have escalated from a domestic affair to a global problem.
"If we have that frame of mind, then we can do something when somebody refuses to accept help to put out the fires, for example," Dr Mahathir said.
Earlier this month, Dr Mahathir said Malaysia had offered to help Indonesia fight the forest fires in Kalimantan and Sumatra, but Jakarta had refused aid.
He noted that Indonesian citizens were also suffering due to the haze, and expressed hope that their plight would cause the country to adopt a more serious stance in tackling the fires. AGENCIES