SINGAPORE: Even though Singapore’s fire-fighting mission in Indonesia has ended, the work to tackle the root causes of the haze-causing fires is not over, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said on Sunday (Oct 25).
A team comprising 40 Singapore Armed Forces’ and Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) officers returned home on Saturday after more than 10 days battling forest fires in Palembang, Indonesia.
In response to media queries, MFA said the Government intends to enhance bilateral, regional and international cooperation to tackle the fires, and will continue to take legal action against errant companies responsible for the haze through the Transboundary Haze Pollution Act.
To that end, Singapore looks forward to Indonesia’s response to “repeated requests” to share information on the errant companies following its agreement to do so on Sep 27, MFA said.
“This information will be critical in helping Singapore to take the fullest course of legal action against these companies under the Transboundary Haze Pollution Act,” it said.
Singapore’s deployment was a demonstration of its commitment to work closely with Indonesia and other affected countries to address the haze problem, MFA said.
“Over the last two weeks, the Singapore Armed Forces and the Singapore Civil Defence Force have worked tirelessly in very difficult conditions to assist Indonesia in its fire-fighting efforts. The Singapore Government has offered haze assistance packages to Indonesia since 2005, and our assistance this year is in line with what the Indonesian Government had requested,” it said.
SINGAPORE COMMITTED TO BILATERAL COOPERATION
Despite the protracted haze situation this year, Singapore remains committed to cooperating with Indonesia, MFA said.
“We look forward to resuming our bilateral environmental cooperation with Jambi Province which has been beneficial to the peoples of Jambi. Singapore hopes to expand such cooperation to other regions and provinces in Indonesia,” it said.
The ministry also called for “firm and decisive action” from ASEAN to prevent the recurrence of the haze. It said Singapore will work closely with other ASEAN countries to fully operationlise the ASEAN Haze Monitoring System and other cooperative initiatives.
The fires and haze are regional problems with global implications, MFA said, adding that this year’s fires have resulted in a “significant increase” of global greenhouse gas emissions.
“Singapore will continue to work with like-minded countries, at the international level, on a lasting solution, including in the global effort to mitigate the effects of climate change.”