Vivian Balakrishnan meets with Malaysia's environment minister

Vivian Balakrishnan meets with Malaysia's environment minister

SINGAPORE - Singapore's Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, has met with Malaysia's Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, Datuk Seri G. Palanivel, for the 26th Malaysia-Singapore Annual Exchange of Visits.

Both Ministers met in Singapore on Tuesday afternoon to exchange information and views on environmental issues of mutual interest such as the control of vehicular emissions; joint monitoring of water quality in the Straits of Johor (SOJ); the progress report on the monitoring of ecology and morphology in SOJ; the collaboration between both countries during chemical and oil spills; collaborations in training between the Environment Institute of Malaysia (EiMAS) and Singapore Environment Institute (SEI); as well as issues surrounding transboundary haze.

Here are the issues the ministers discussed during their meeting:

(i) Control of Vehicular Emissions

The Ministers commended the significant improvements made in the control of vehicular pollution that has led to a reduction in the proportion of Singapore and Malaysian smoky vehicles on Singapore roads since 1990. Both countries will continue to cooperate closely and share information in the areas of enforcement operations, improving emission standards, and encouraging alternatives to conventional fuel and diesel vehicles.

(ii) Joint Monitoring of Water Quality in the SOJ

The Ministers acknowledged the continuous efforts to improve the overall water quality of the SOJ and agreed to continue with the joint water quality monitoring programme undertaken by both countries.

(iii) Progress Report on the Monitoring of Ecology and Morphology in and around the SOJ

Recognising the importance of conserving the biodiversity resources of both countries, the Ministers agreed to continue the exchange of information on the monitoring of ecology and morphology in and around the SOJ.

(iv) Collaboration Between Malaysia and Singapore in the Area of Chemical Spill and Oil Spill

The Ministers welcomed the close cooperation among the various agencies of both countries in the area of chemical spill and oil spill prevention. Both countries have been working together to prevent and control chemical spill at Malaysia-Singapore Second Crossing and the East Johor Straits as well as oil spill in the SOJ. It was noted that the 9th Emergency Response Field Exercise was successfully conducted recently on 29 October 2013 to simulate a chemical spill incident at the Tuas Second Link. Such joint exercises will enable the relevant emergency response agencies to take prompt and effective response actions in the event of any accident.

(v) Collaboration in Training between Environment Institute of Malaysia (EiMAS) and Singapore Environment Institute (SEI)

The Ministers welcomed the various collaborative training programmes between the training institutes of both countries. The Ministers also committed to strengthening the collaboration between the Environment Institute of Malaysia and Singapore Environment Institute through existing and future programmes.

(vi) Transboundary Haze Pollution

The Ministers expressed deep concern over the transboundary haze from land and forest fires in Indonesia that severely affected members of the public in both Malaysia and Singapore that recurs every year. They resolved to take actions to enhance the regional collaboration to prevent the recurrence of transboundary haze by implementing the ASEAN Leaders' decision made at the 23rd ASEAN Summit in October 2013, pursuant to the recommendation by the 15th MSC. They hoped that expeditious measures will be taken to detect, prevent and suppress fires.

The 26th AEV will conclude with the Annual Friendly Games that will bring together officials from both Ministries to build camaraderie and forge closer friendships through sports.

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