Protecting Straits of Johor

NURBAITI HAMDAN The Star 17 Dec 16;

PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia and Singa­pore are on track to resolve the environmental issues affecting both countries, particularly in the Straits of Johor.

Natural Resources and Envi­ronment Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said 90% of the issues have been resolved, with only 10% left to be looked into.

“With every human activity, there must be some impact on the environment. So that 10% is what remains.

“We should not degrade our environment, especially in the Straits of Johor.

“I don’t want to go into detail but based on our assessment, I think we can overcome the 10%,” he said.

Dr Wan Junaidi was speaking at a press conference after a meeting with his Singaporean counterpart, Environment and Water Resources Minister Masagos Zulkifli in conjunction with the 29th Malaysia-Singapore Annual Exchange of Visit (AEV) here yesterday.

While acknowledging the rapid development around the waterway from both countries, he reaffirmed a shared commitment to protect the Straits of Johor, which was a “common heritage and property” of Malaysia and Singapore.

During the meeting, both countries discussed and exchanged information pursuant to the Settlement Agreement 2005 on matters affecting the environment in and around the Straits of Johor.

These included complaints on smell, transboundary movement of hazardous wastes and other wastes, and land reclamation works at the strait, which could have potential adverse impact.

Dr Wan Junaidi said protecting the waterway also meant protecting the value of the properties that are being developed in the area.

“The properties that we are developing near the Straits of Johor, especially in Johor, have very high value.

“If the waterway goes bad, the property value will be down. We are including the corporate sector in waterway protection efforts so that the property value in the area will continue to maintain, or even increase,” he added.

Masagos said Malaysia and Singapore have been resolving the environmental issue objectively and amicably, without any blame game.

He added that Singapore has been conducting regular emergency exercises at the Malaysia-Singapore border against oil spills in the sea, beach and causeway to prevent pollution and harm.

In a joint statement, both countries noted marked improvements over the years in tackling vehicular pollution and would continue to share experiences and strategies on controlling vehicular emissions, such as tightening emission standards and stepping up enforcement against smoky vehicles.

Both countries also agreed to continue exchanging information on the monitoring of ecology and morphology in and around the Straits of Johor for the purpose of conserving the marine biodiversity.


Malaysia, Singapore committed to Johor Straits land reclamation works
Malay Mail 16 Dec 16;

PUTRAJAYA, Dec 16 — Malaysia and Singapore are committed to continue fulfilling their obligations under the international law on land reclamation works in the Straits of Johor.

Malaysia’s Natural Resources and Environment Ministry and Singapore Environment and Water Resources Ministry in a joint statement said it was important for both countries to fulfill their obligation in particular the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea to avoid potential adverse transboundary impact.

The joint statement was issued today in conjunction with the 29th Malaysia-Singapore Annual Exchange of Visit (AEV) here, in which Malaysia was represented by Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar while Environment and Water Resources Minister Masagos Zulkifli for Singapore.

The statement said Malaysia and Singapore reaffirmed their commitment under the Settlement Agreement of exchange information and discuss matters affecting their respective environments in the Straits of Johor, including reclamation works that might have potential adverse transboundary impact.

“In this regard, the minister welcomed the establishment of a joint task force to discuss issues pertaining to the findings of the bathymetry survey at Danga Bay,” it said.

On collaboration in the area of oil spill prevention and control in the Straits of Johor, the joint statement said Malaysia and Singapore agreed to continue working together on information and experience sharing.

“Malaysia and Singapore will collaborate in capacity building on the prevention and control of oil pollution due to incidents resulting from ship-to-ship transfer activities as well as measures against accidental or illegal disposal of oil and oily sludge into the Straits of Johor,” it said.

The statement said Malaysia and Singapore would conduct a joint exercise for chemical spill at the Malaysia-Singapore Second Crossing in September next year, hosted by Malaysia.

“Regular exercises continue to serve as a good platform for both countries to test and improve their existing response plans to deal with incidents involving hazardous chemical,” it said.

The joint statement said they reaffirmed their commitment to further strengthen cooperation in environmental-related matters such as control of vehicular emissions and joint monitoring of water quality in the Straits of Johor.

The statement said the two ministers noted that both countries had made marked improvements over the years in tackling vehicular pollution and would continue to share experiences and strategies on controlling vehicular emissions, such as the tightening of emission standards and intensifying enforcement against smoky vehicles.

“The two ministers noted the great emphasis placed on marine environmental protection by both countries and stressed the need to improve the seawater quality in the Straits of Johor,” it said.

At the joint press conference, Wan Junaidi said Malaysia and Singapore were ‘good neighbours’ and their close bilateral ties had resolved environmental-related matters amicably.

“We have solved about 90 per cent of it and another 10 per cent needed to be looked into, especially in the Straits of Johor,” he said.

Masagos meanwhile said Singapore and Malaysia were making ‘excellent cooperation’ and tremendous progress in resolving environmental-related issues in the most effective and objective way.

“Our cooperation helps us to address issues that affect both of us including the transboundary haze in the region.
“We welcomed the adoption of the Roadmap on Asean Cooperation towards the vision of transboundary haze-free Asean by 2020,” he said. — Bernama

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