Jakarta (ANTARA) - Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs Mahfud MD confirmed there would be no smoke reaching neighboring countries due to forest and land fires in Indonesia.

"There was no smoke reaching neighboring countries as stated by several parties or as happened every year in the past. There is no more smoke," the minister remarked during a press conference for the Cross-Ministerial/Agency Coordination Meeting in Jakarta, Monday.

This year, Mahfud noted that the El Nino phenomenon had triggered an increase in hotspots as compared to the previous years, but the number of forest and land fires due to the phenomenon was smaller than years ago.

"Compared to El Nino in 2019, forest and land fire cases this year are smaller and under control. We will continue to monitor increasing hotspots, although hotspots do not always become fire spots," he stated.

According to Mahfud, the central government and regional governments, especially for areas with a high number of hotspots, are always on alert regarding this matter. A joint effort was also made by the National Police (Polri), related agencies, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), and the private sector to monitor hotspots.

"We will fully utilize our ground operation resources because our aircraft are limited," the minister noted.

In addition, weather modification technology (TMC) continues to be implemented under the coordination of the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) as well as by carrying out water-bombing efforts, he revealed.

Earlier, the Foreign Affairs Ministry stated that it had received an assistance offer from the Malaysian government to handle forest and land fires in Indonesia.

The ministry's spokesperson, Lalu Muhamad Iqbal, remarked that the Malaysian government's offer was outlined in a letter sent to the Indonesian Minister of Environment and Forestry.

"The letter conveys the latest air quality conditions in Malaysia and their readiness to help deal with forest fires if the Indonesian government needs it," he stated.

Meanwhile, Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya also denied accusations regarding smoke from forest and land fires in Indonesia having crossed into Malaysia.

"We continue to follow developments, and there is no transboundary haze reaching Malaysia," she noted in a statement on October 2.

Smoke distribution image maps from the Indonesian Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) and the ASEAN Specialized Meteorological Center (ASMC) on September 28-30 showed that no smoke haze from Indonesia had passed into Malaysia.

Wind in Indonesia is generally blowing from southeast to northwest to northeast, with no cross-border smoke detected.

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Translator: Zubi Mahrofi, Resinta Sulistiyandari
Editor: Azis Kurmala
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