PM Lee welcomes joint haze monitoring system

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has welcomed Asean's decision to adopt a joint haze monitoring system (HMS) at the regional grouping's summit now taking place in Brunei, calling it a "concrete example of cooperation".

"This approval of the HMS will allow us to implement the system and track down those responsible for causing the haze, and over time manage the problem," he said during the summit.

Speaking to reporters later, Mr Lee said implementing the monitoring system in the five countries involved in Asean's sub-regional ministerial steering committee (MSC) on transboundary haze pollution will require cooperation and information from the different countries.

"You need data on who owns which piece of land so that we can put the maps together with the satellite photos and we can make information available," said Mr Lee.

"But we have got the scheme approved so now I think the respective agencies and ministries in the different countries will have to go forward and implement it."

The sharing of land use and concession maps has been a sticking point in previous discussions among the MSC countries - Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei and Thailand. Singapore has pushed for the data to be made publicly available but Malaysia and Indonesia cited legal concerns over going public with the maps.

In July, the environment ministers reached a compromise on the issue, saying they would recommend to their leaders that the maps be shared on a case by case basis between governments.