by S BIRRUNTHA/ pic by BLOOMBERG
MALAYSIA will support Australia in its efforts to fight wildfires, as devastating bushfire continues to blaze in the southeastern part of the country down under.
In a statement yesterday, International Trade and Industry (MITI) Minister Datuk Darell Leiking extended his heartfelt sympathy to the people and wildlife affected by the disaster.
“As the host of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) 2020, Malaysia stands by Australia in support of its efforts to fight the wildfires and we pray that the situation will return to normalcy soon.
“Malaysia recognises that global climate change brings about effects that have resulted in increased frequency, magnitude and scope of natural disasters like wildfires, earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions.
“We also call on all APEC members to come together in support of similar efforts to better mitigate, respond and recover from emergencies and natural disasters across our region,” he said.
He added that every economy has now become vulnerable to this threat and it is important to be prepared in managing the situation individually as an economy and collectively as a region.
“These natural disasters present great challenges to our global supply chain, affect people’s health and mobility, as well as threaten the lives of animals and endangered species,” he said.
Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said Malaysia will deploy National Disaster Management Agency personnel, the Special Malaysia Disaster Assistance and Rescue Team and assets, to help put out the fires and support rescue operations in Australia.
She added that Malaysia stands ready to help Australia in its ongoing bushfire crisis.
“I am deeply saddened to learn about the massive bushfires that have caused the loss of lives and extensive damage in Australia.
“On behalf of the government of Malaysia, I would like to express my deepest condolences to the victims, their families and all those affected.
“Our prayers are with the people of Australia during this difficult period,” she said in her official Facebook account on Sunday.
According to media reports, 24 people were killed and almost 2,000 homes destroyed in the bushfires that have ravaged three Australian states.
This has also burned about five million hectares of land with ecologists estimating that almost half a billion of mammals, birds and reptiles have died since the fires began.
Also, in a statement, Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali said Malaysia stands in solidarity with Australia as firefighting teams and emergency services personnel work tirelessly around-the-clock to battle the blaze.
“This crisis has underscored the devastating impact of climate change globally. Therefore, steadfast commitment towards implementing sustainable policies and collective action by all countries is needed to arrest this trend and prevent it from getting progressively worse.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to all who have been affected,” he added.