Indonesia's latest comments on Transboundary Haze Pollution Act a 'good outcome': Masagos

In a Facebook post on Friday (Jun 17), Singapore's Environment Minister said he welcomed an Indonesian official's comments that Jakarta was serious about tackling forest fires that contributed to transboundary haze.
Channel NewsAsia 17 Jun 16;

SINGAPORE: Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli said the latest development in Indonesia's comments on Singapore's efforts against forest fire culprits was a "good outcome", in a Facebook post on Friday (Jun 17).

The Environment Minister reiterated in his post that Singapore's Transboundary Haze Pollution Act (THPA) complied with international law.

Minister Masagos welcomed Indonesian foreign ministry spokesman Arrmanatha Nasir’s statement on Thursday that Indonesia was serious about tackling the forest fires and had a high commitment to doing so. He added that Singapore is looking forward to receiving information from Indonesia on the companies suspected of the illegal burning that resulted in last year's haze.

"We also look forward to continuing to work together to eradicate the transboundary haze pollution that has plagued the region for decades," Mr Masagos said.

Mr Arrmanatha said in his statement on Thursday that Indonesia had been wrongly perceived as opposing Singapore's actions against Indonesians suspected of causing forest fires, and was only concerned about ensuring those actions were conducted in line with international regulations.

This was after Indonesia's Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya Bakar reportedly told the media on Monday that Singapore could not step further to enter Indonesia’s legal domain on the issue of forest fires because the two countries do not have an agreement in the matter. She was also quoted as saying that Singapore's actions with the THPA showed that it did not respect Indonesia's sovereignty.

In response, Singapore's Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources (MEWR) said that the THPA is meant to deter and prosecute those responsible for transboundary haze pollution in Singapore, and is not directed at any individual or company based on nationality.

Singapore passed the THPA in 2014 to take action against companies that start fires or let their concessions burn. Last month, the National Environment Agency obtained a court warrant after the director of one of the Indonesian firms linked to illegal forest fires failed to turn up for an interview when he was in Singapore.

- CNA/mz

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