K. Shanmugam, Law

Extra-territorial laws on haze being considered: Shanmugam

Singapore is looking at introducing extra-territorial laws to penalise companies found responsible for contributing to the haze, Law Minister K. Shanmugam announced in Parliament on Monday.

The Attorney-General is studying the option and considering "what legal options are available, if credible and usable evidence is received that Singapore-linked companies are involved", added Mr Shanmugam.

He was responding to parliamentary questions filed by Mr Lim Biow Chuan (Mountbatten), the Workers' Party's Mr Pritam Singh (Aljunied GRC) and Nominated MP Eugene Tan on whether criminal sanctions and extraterritorial legislation could be used.

Mr Shanmugam, who is also Foreign Minister, stressed, however, that the primary responsibility of taking action against companies lay with Indonesia.

Singapore has sent a diplomatic note to Indonesia formally requesting evidence on whether Singapore-linked firms were involved in slash-and-burn practices that brought about the recent haze crisis. Indonesia has not yet responded.

Countries are also obligated, added Mr Shanmugam, under international agreements like the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development to ensure that economic activities within their borders do not result in spill-over damage to their neighbours.