Foreign Affairs Minister Shanmugam expresses concern about haze to Indonesia

The transboundary haze has attracted international attention, Mr Shanmugam said, and others are looking at how countries in this region were dealing with the issue.
The transboundary haze has attracted international attention, Mr Shanmugam said, and others are looking at how countries in this region were dealing with the issue.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Foreign Affairs and Law Minister K Shanmugam has called Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi on Friday to express concern about the ongoing haze in Singapore.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement on Friday that Mr Shanmugam told his Indonesian counterpart that "the recurrence of the haze had both immediate and long-term health impact on Singaporeans and others in the region".

He also said that the transboundary haze has attracted international attention, and others are looking at how countries in this region were dealing with the issue. He added that there has been a negative economic impact on the entire region, including Indonesia, and that more regional and longer-term efforts are needed to effectively combat the haze problem.

Mr Shanmugam also noted that Asean states should fulfil their obligations under the Asean Agreement on Transboundary Haze, which all 10 members have signed. This includes putting into operation the Asean Haze Monitoring System, a joint effort which the countries had agreed to in 2013.

 
 

He welcomed the steps taken by the Indonesian government to address the haze issue, including declaring states of emergency in affected provinces and its investigations into errant companies suspected of causing fires.

He urged for strong action to be taken against these companies, and urged Indonesian authorities to share the names of these companies with Singapore so that punitive action can be taken against them.

Minister Retno said in response that the names of errant companies would be given through his country's Ministry of Environment and Forestry to Singapore's Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources.

Mr Shanmugam welcomed this and said that Singapore would take legal action against these companies once the names were provided.