Channel NewsAsia
Updated: 06/18/2013 17:57 | By Channel NewsAsia

S'pore urges Indonesia to name firms responsible for causing haze

S'pore urges Indonesia to name firms responsible for causing haze

S'pore urges Indonesia to name firms responsible for causing haze

SINGAPORE: Singapore has asked Indonesia to name the errant companies involved in illegal burning.

The primary responsibility to take legal and enforcement actions against these companies lie with Indonesia - as they have clearly violated Indonesian laws within Indonesian jurisdiction.

This was highlighted in a joint statement by the Foreign Affairs Ministry and Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources.

Earlier, Foreign Affairs Minister K Shanmugam and Minister for Environment and Water Resources Vivian Balakrishnan had spoken to their Indonesian counterparts - Indonesian Minister for Foreign Affairs Dr Marty Natalegawa and Indonesian Environment Minister Dr Balthasar Kambuaya - to register Singapore's strong concerns about the worsening haze situation.

The two ministers highlighted that Singapore's PSI had breached 150 on Monday, and had entered the unhealthy zone.

The Singaporean ministers emphasised the urgency of the situation while also reaffirming Singapore's commitment to help Indonesia fight the fires in Sumatra.

Dr Balakrishnan requested that Indonesia share relevant information to improve monitoring of hotspots and land clearing activities.

This had been agreed between Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand in October 2012.

Both Mr Shanmugam and Dr Balakrishnan referred to the claim by an Indonesian Forestry Ministry official in the media that Malaysian and Singapore palm oil companies that had invested in Indonesia may be responsible for starting the fires in Riau.

They asked Indonesia to share the names of errant companies involved in illegal burning.

Dr Balakrishnan also reiterated that Singapore is ready to continue collaborating with Indonesia at the provincial level to mitigate the haze problem, as agreed by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the recently-held Singapore-Indonesia Leaders' Retreat in April 2013.

Ministers Marty and Balthasar offered their assurances that Indonesia would address the haze problem.

Mr Shanmugam and Mr Marty agreed that bilateral and regional cooperation could be further strengthened to tackle the haze problem and that Indonesian Environment and Forestry officials could discuss with their Singapore counterparts ways to better cooperate and deal with the haze issue.   - CNA/xq

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