Singapore concerned over Johor Strait projects

An artist's impression of the Forest City, a mixed-use development spanning about 1,386ha on four man-made islands in the Johor Strait.
An artist's impression of the Forest City, a mixed-use development spanning about 1,386ha on four man-made islands in the Johor Strait.PHOTO: COUNTRY GARDEN

Singapore is concerned that reclamation work for some Malaysian projects in the Johor Strait have begun without the needed studies on the potential environmental impact, the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources (MEWR) said yesterday.

In cases where environmental impact assessments (EIAs) have been done, not all the reports have been shared with Singapore, the ministry added, in reply to media queries.

Malaysian Natural Resources and Environment Minister Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar had said on Feb 4 that Johor development projects involving land reclamation had so far not affected Singapore, and would not have a negative impact on Singapore.

MEWR said Singapore has in fact raised its concerns on many occasions. "Singapore has highlighted to Malaysia that an EIA needs to be conducted before any reclamation is carried out to confirm that the works will not have any adverse transboundary impact."

For projects where EIA reports have been shared, Singapore analyses the findings and seeks clarification from Malaysia where necessary, the ministry said.

Singapore is presently in the midst of such analysis for Johor's Forest City project, it added.

Work at the development near Tuas, as well as for Princess Cove near the Causeway, was suspended in June 2014. But Malaysia gave the green light last January for work on Forest City to restart.

MEWR said Singapore continues to monitor these projects for potential environmental impact.

Singapore has also been in close contact with Malaysia to anticipate, discuss and mitigate any negative transboundary environmental impact. Such exchanges are facilitated under the ambit of the Malaysia-Singapore Joint Committee on the Environment network, it added.

"Singapore remains committed to working together with Malaysia to address our concerns over the potential transboundary environmental impact of Malaysia's reclamation projects," the ministry said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 18, 2016, with the headline 'Singapore concerned over Johor Strait projects'. Print Edition | Subscribe