Vivian at haze meeting: sharing of maps among govts is a "half step" forward

Singapore's Enviroment Minister Vivian Balakrishnan (left) talks with Indonesia's Environment Minister Balthasar Kambuaya during the Sub-Regional Ministerial Steering Committee (MSC) on Transboundary Haze Pollution in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday, July
Singapore's Enviroment Minister Vivian Balakrishnan (left) talks with Indonesia's Environment Minister Balthasar Kambuaya during the Sub-Regional Ministerial Steering Committee (MSC) on Transboundary Haze Pollution in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday, July 17, 2013. Singapore is somewhat disappointed that the five Asean countries affected by the recent haze crisis could not agree to make public land concession maps to identify errant companies, Mr Vivian said on Wednesday. -- PHOTO: AP

Singapore is "somewhat disappointed" that the five Asean countries affected by the recent haze crisis could not agree to make public land concession maps to identify errant companies, Environment and Water Resources Minister Vivian Balakrishnan said on Wednesday.

"It's a pity that we could not get greater transparency and public access," he wrote in a Facebook post after the 15th Sub-Regional Ministerial Steering Committee (MSC) on Transboundary Haze Pollution.

Nevertheless, he acknowledged that the decision to share these maps among the five governments - Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei and Thailand - was a "half-step" forward.

He also noted that several NGOs have already published concession maps, adding: "We will continue to work with these NGOs to maximise consumer pressure on errant companies."

The five Asean environment ministers met in Kuala Lumpur to discuss measures to tackle the haze. They agreed to strengthen collaboration in a number of areas to better prevent haze-causing fires in the future.

Indonesia also committed to ratifying the Asean Transboundary Haze Pollution Agreement expeditiously. It is the only Asean country that has not done so.