SINGAPORE: The environment ministers of Singapore and Malaysia on Thursday (Sep 27) agreed to enhance collaboration in new areas such as climate change, managing plastic and packaging waste as well as industrial pollution and radiation safety.
Those issues were discussed during an annual meeting between the environment ministries of the two neighbours, which was held in Putrajaya this year.
The Singapore delegation, led by Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli, included senior officials from the ministry, the National Environment Agency and other government bodies.
Mr Masagos was in Malaysia for a two-day visit at the invitation of Ms Yeo Bee Yin, Malaysia's Minister of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change.
A host of environment-related matters were discussed, including the joint monitoring of water quality in the Straits of Johor.
“The two ministers agreed on the importance of good water quality in the Straits of Johor, and encouraged both sides to continue efforts to improve water quality by implementing measures to control sources of pollution,” said a joint press release by the two environment ministries.
On land reclamation works in the Straits of Johor, the ministers noted the potential transboundary impact of such activities, and agreed that it is important for both sides to fulfil their obligations under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
“In this regard, the ministers urged the Danga Bay Joint Task Force to work closely and resolve the issues pertaining to the findings of the bathymetry surveys at Danga Bay expeditiously,” said the joint press release.
Danga Bay, at the southern tip of Johor Bahru not far from the Causeway, is home to residential and commercial developments. Land in the area has been reclaimed for several projects.
Singapore and Malaysia also agreed to continue to update each other on policies to reduce harmful vehicular emissions and identify areas of cooperation.
In addition, the ministers acknowledged the progress made by ASEAN member states in addressing transboundary pollution, and reaffirmed their commitment to work together and with other countries on such issues.