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Politicians must speak up on environment issues: NMP Faizah Jamal

It is important to conserve the environment because without it, there will be no platform for the arts, sports, businesses, jobs and economy, said Nominated Member of Parliament Faizah Jamal in her Parliament speech.

SINGAPORE: Without the environment, there will be no platform for the arts, sports, businesses, jobs and economy, Nominated Member of Parliament Faizah Jamal said in Parliament on Wednesday (May 28).

She also urged members of the Parliament to speak up on environment issues. 

"All members of this House should be concerned and ask why something as inviolate as our nature reserve, on which we draw free eco-services that make our very existence that much more meaningful, is to be desecrated in the name of infrastructure," she said.

"All members of this House should be alarmed and ask why the rate of our food waste is disproportionately high for a comparatively small population, especially when at the same time we raise concerns in this House on behalf of constituents on the rising cost of food."

Ms Faizah said there is willingness on the part of the environment community, as well as the private sector and the Government, to work together on green issues. This was a conclusion she drew after five "Green Conversations" - following the "Our Singapore Conversations" initiative - were held.

Ms Faizah said she believes the Government can do more to facilitate the process of rolling out ideas into action, by opening up the space for dialogue. 

She added that, in her two years in the House, she had seen greater willingness on the part of government agencies for engagement with environment advocates. This includes eight-month talks with the Land Transport Authority over the Cross Island Line, as well as the recent "Ubin Conversations". 

Ms Faizah said she hoped to see two things in the second half of the current session of Parliament.

"First, to remember that we are equal partners not just in 'Conversations' but that we are citizens that have a stake in the well-being of our country; beyond the issue that we champion, and are able to come up with workable alternative solutions," she said.

"Second, that the government acts under a public trust - a trust that land and resources belong to the people and major decisions that impact on the land and the resources cannot be made without prior informed consultation. 

"In that regard, impact assessments for major projects that include not just environmental but cultural, heritage and social as well, have to be put in place, and must be transparent and open to public scrutiny."

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