S'pore still pressing Jakarta to share info on haze culprits

Mr Masagos told Dr Siti that official information was necessary in order for Singapore to take errant firms to task.
Mr Masagos told Dr Siti that official information was necessary in order for Singapore to take errant firms to task.PHOTO: MASAGOS ZULKIFLI'S FACEBOOK PAGE

Singapore has reiterated its stand that Indonesia should share data on company names and concession maps so it could act against plantation firms that allow the kind of slash-and-burn farming which led to the region's haze crisis last year.

During his introductory visit to Indonesia yesterday, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli told the country's Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya Bakar that such official information was necessary in order for Singapore to take errant firms to task.

"We continue to ask for the details of the concession map as well as the companies that we know have committed offences where THPA is concerned," he told Singapore media after the meeting, referring to the Transboundary Haze Pollution Act.

"This is an issue of sovereignty, too. Even if we know from intelligence, from looking at open information (on) where and who these companies are, it's important for us to pursue this legally," he said.

Dr Siti had told him that she would need to raise the matter with the Cabinet as current Indonesian laws did not allow for such information to be shared, he said.

Mr Masagos said Indonesia must resolve the issues as "at the end of the day, we'd like to see outcomes".

"Even as hot spots appear, hot spots from accidental fires, they can be mitigated and do not produce excessive smoke and then haze that affect their neighbouring countries," he said.

He also emphasised the need for closer bilateral and regional cooperation between the two countries, to ensure such environment offences do not occur. "I'm happy that Minister Siti was responsive," he said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 03, 2016, with the headline 'S'pore still pressing Jakarta to share info on haze culprits'. Print Edition | Subscribe