Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen says Singapore is ready to help Indonesia fight haze

Indonesia had repeatedly declined offers of help from overseas to tackle the smoke.
Indonesia had repeatedly declined offers of help from overseas to tackle the smoke.PHOTO: AFP

Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said on Thursday that Singapore is ready to help Indonesia combat the forest fires blamed for the haze that has blanketed the region for weeks.

"I'm glad Indonesian leaders have stated publicly that they accept Singapore's help to fight the haze," Dr Ng said in a post on Facebook on Thursday night.

His comment came after reports that Indonesian President Joko Widodo had asked Singapore, Russia, Malaysia and Japan for help to put out the fires.

"The SAF's Chinook helicopter with the Singapore Civil Defence Force's 5,000L heli-bucket that was previously used to put out forest fires in Chiang Mai stands ready, and will be able to take off once the Indonesians' approval is given. In addition, we can follow-up with a Super Puma helicopter with a 2,000L heli-bucket as needed," Dr Ng said in the post.

 

Indonesia had repeatedly declined offers of help from overseas to tackle the smoke, the main cause of which is companies using fire to clear land for palm oil and pulp wood plantations on Sumatra island and its part of Borneo island, Reuters reported.

"We have asked for help and we have received help from Singapore," Mr Joko said in a statement released on the Cabinet Secretary's website on Thursday, adding he also wanted help from Russia, Malaysia and Japan.