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Malaysia Urges Indonesia on Fires

February 15, 1998

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) _ Fearing a return of the haze that blanketed Southeast Asia last year, Malaysia appealed to Indonesia on Sunday to dowse new forest fires on the island of Borneo.

The fires have burned 7,400 acres of forest, according to the national news agency, Bernama.

Forest fires in Indonesia last year spread haze over the region for months, especially in neighboring Malaysia where people were urged to stay indoors, reduce physical activities and wear face masks while outdoors.

At the height of the crisis, schools, offices and factories were closed in the state of Sarawak on Borneo island, which Malaysia shares with Indonesia.

``We hope that the Indonesian authorities will take immediate legal action regarding the fires,″ said Mohamed Rahmat, chairman of the national disaster management and relief committee.

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