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Friday, August 6, 1999 Published at 09:05 GMT 10:05 UK

World: Asia-Pacific

Malaysian government under fire over haze

As smoke from forest fires in Indonesia shrouds surrounding countries, the Malaysian government has been severely criticised by opposition parties for withdrawing a closely watched air pollution indicator.

The opposition leader, Lim Kit Siang, said the decision was completely indefensible when warnings were being sounded in Indonesia that the haze could be as catastrophic as the pollution two years ago.

The Malaysian environment minister, Law Hieng Ding, has accused foreign news organisations of using the data to scare away tourists. Meanwhile, the Indonesian environment minister, Panangian Siregar, says he saw almost three hundred fires burning in West Kalimantan province on Borneo island during a reconnaissance flight.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service

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