The Haze: Ministries make plans to minimise disruption

SINGAPORE - All Government ministries will announce action plans this week to help minimise any future disruption to Singaporeans caused by haze conditions.

The chairman of the haze inter-ministerial taskforce, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen, told a press conference on Monday night that Singaporeans' lives could be affected by problems ranging from public transport delays to longer queues at hawker centres, to workers slowing down as they work with masks on.

He said it was therefore important that people heeded the plans to be announced so that they can adjust their daily routines.

Dr Ng listed various scenarios that could occur if air conditions worsen.

Lower visibility would mean drivers have to slow down to avoid accidents. Changi Airport may have to slow down its operations or divert planes, while road and sea supplies from Malaysia could also be affected.

Garbage collection and construction of Housing Board flats may be delayed as outdoor workers are required to rest more.

Dr Ng said: "The key will be to adjust, slow down but don't stop, and we must protect our health, but in addition, prevent mass disruptions as far as possible."

He also called on unions and employers to support the Government in ensuring the haze action plans are rolled out smoothly.

Dr Ng said the taskforce decided to turn its attention to helping Singaporeans cope with the impact the haze has had on them, now that most retailers have been stocked up with N95 masks.

Many had run out of supplies before the Health Ministry pushed out another four million to people on lower incomes, vulnerable citizens and retailers.

Dr Ng was speaking to reporters after a visit to Changi Airport and an HDB development project in Punggol, where he met workers to find out how they were dealing with the haze.

He was accompanied by Acting Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin and Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew.

Mr Tan called on employers to put the safety of their workers first, and assured firms that his ministry would help them get face masks if they had problems acquiring them.