Mahathir: I don't know why Jokowi has not accepted M'sia's help to fight haze

Meanwhile, Jokowi has insisted that Indonesia is doing all it can.

Matthias Ang | September 20, 2019, 02:31 PM

Malaysia's Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said he is unsure as to why Indonesia's President-Elect Jokowi Widodo, a.k.a Jokowi, has not accepted Malaysia's help to fight the haze.

Mahathir said at a Sep. 19 press conference that Malaysia had offered assistance to Indonesia as they had planes that could conduct water-bombing operations, The New Straits Times reported

Mahathir said: "We... offered help all the time. We have airplanes that are special which spray water. I think it can be used. I don’t know why Indonesia is not accepting our help. I would also like to ask (Jokowi) why the government don’t want to receive our help but I have not done that yet."

Mahathir further told Malaysian media that they could ask Jokowi themselves why Indonesia did not accept their help, Free Malaysia Today reported.

He added: "Why don't you ask (Jokowi)?"

Jokowi: Indonesia doing all it can to stop fires

The Jakarta Post reported that Jokowi has since insisted that the Indonesian government is doing all it can to stop the fires.

The Star reported that he has also called for a crackdown on those responsible for the fires in the country.

He said: "Strict action by way of penalty is needed for those who burn forests, whether they are corporations or individuals."

On Sep. 18, Jokowi posted a video of himself reviewing the site of a fire in Riau, while calling for action to be taken at all levels of administration.

Indonesia does not need help yet

Earlier on Sep. 9, a spokesperson for Indonesia's national disaster mitigation agency (BPNB), said that the country did not yet require foreign assistance to deal with the haze, as it was capable of doing so.

Indonesia's Foreign Affairs Ministry’s South-East Asian Affairs director Denny Abdi further stated that Indonesia has deployed people on the ground to fight the fires.

Almost 30,000 people were deployed on the ground and 50 helicopters were reportedly conducting water bombing to contain the situation.

Thus far, plantations operated by 30 companies have been sealed off while 230 people have been arrested over the fires.

Malaysia to pray for rain

When asked about how Malaysia itself will check the haze, Mahathir stated that prayers for rain would be held, along with cloud-seeding and recommending people to wear masks, FMT highlighted.

He said: "We pray for rain. We try to do cloud-seeding and ask people to wear masks."

Additionally, the use of drones to form artificial rain over Putrajaya was being considered.

Mahathir added, however, that he had not yet received information about the cost of cloud-seeding.

Top image collage from Mahathir Mohamad Facebook and Joko Widodo Facebook