Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Dato Sri Douglas Uggah Embas disclosed so far, five local companies in Sarawak are presently under his Ministry's investigation on their alleged involvement in massive open burning cases.
"Our Ministry is very concerned on the seriousness of the open burning activities as these activities are the main cause which contributes to the occurring of haze and this condition is dangerous and unhealthy to the people in the area or nearby the vicinities."
Douglas, who is also Member of Parliament for Betong told this to the reporters after presenting two respective cheques to two churches, witnessed by Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Alfred Jabu at Jabu's office at Wisma Bapa Malaysia at Petra Jaya near the city here yesterday morning.
When asked on the latest situation the bushfire incident which had literally engulfed 12-hectres of vacant land in Tudan near Miri, he disclosed that the fire is currently being controlled by the firemen and other service departments and expected to be fully extinguished by today.
"As far as I know, the highest Air Pollutant Index (API) recorded in that area was yesterday which was at 258 API (Very Unhealthy Level) but I believed that the index will decreased by today as we had managed to control the fire."
Advising, the people nearby the incident to reduce their outdoor activities to avoid the unhealthy fumes, Douglas also gave stern warning to those intending to start any open-burning activities, regardless for agricultural activities or whatsoever, as they would face a hefty fine and penalty if caught.
On another matter, that five areas in his Betong Parliamentary constituency were affected by the present draught condition however, the situation is expected to change once these areas receives rain but in the meantime, some of the government agencies and department are distributing water to those affected.
Among those present during the presenting ceremony was Assistant Minister of Public Utilities (Electricity and Telecommunications) and Assistant Minister of Youth Development (Rural) Datuk Dr Stephen Rundi Utom and other distinguished guests.