Indonesia says it has enough resources to combat haze, declines help

The skyline of central business district in Singapore obscured by haze.
PHOTO: The Straits Times

SINGAPORE - Indonesia has clarified at a joint meeting with Singapore that it has enough resources to combat the haze crisis, and need not call on Singapore's assistance at this time, Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources (MEWR) said in a press statement on Friday (Oct 2).

A small team of officials led by Permanent Secretary Choi Shing Kwok of MEWR met Indonesian Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Gen (Retd) Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan and Head of National Disaster Management Agency Willem Rampangilei in Jakarta yesterday (Oct 1).

During the meeting, Indonesia briefed the Singapore delegation on its measures to tackle the haze crisis. Singapore had also offered to provide one chinook helicopter to conduct water bombing and one C-130 aircraft for cloud-seeding operations. However Indonesia declined, explaining that it had enough resources of its own.

The meeting also discussed law enforcement actions by Indonesia against errant companies and Singapore explained how its Transboundary Haze Pollution Act allows it to also take legal action against offenders who cause transboundary haze in Singapore. This will help supplement Indonesia's actions while respecting Indonesia's sovereignty.

MEWR added that Singapore had also requested for Indonesia to share information that could help identify errant companies behind the fires. The ministry is currently awaiting Indonesia's response.

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debwong@sph.com.sg

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