Written reply by Ms Grace Fu, Minister for Sustainability and the Environment, to Parliamentary Question on Indonesia’s Omnibus Law and Transboundary Haze, on 4 November 2020
Mr Leon Perera: To ask the Minister for Sustainability and the Environment (a) whether Indonesia’s Omnibus Law will have environmental implications for Singapore, specifically on the issue of transboundary haze; and (b) whether the law affects Singapore’s strategy in dealing with potential haze problems.
1 Singapore was free of transboundary haze this year. Apart from the wetter weather conditions this year, Indonesian President Joko Widodo and his government have shown leadership and determination in preventing and fighting land, forest and peatland fires in Indonesia.
2 We do not interfere with the domestic politics of any foreign country and it is in the sovereign right of a country to introduce laws to meet its domestic needs. We understand that the Omnibus Law on Job Creation was introduced by the Indonesian government to create new jobs and support economic growth.
3 The Omnibus Law will not affect Singapore’s commitment to work closely with Indonesia, other ASEAN Member States and the international community to address transboundary haze. We stand ready to offer fire-fighting assistance to combat the fires, and deploy them when requested, as we did in 2005 and 2015.
4 At the regional level, the ASEAN Specialised Meteorological Centre (ASMC) based in Singapore will continue sharing regional weather and haze outlook, and satellite imagery information with ASEAN Member States. The ASMC plays a critical regional role as its technical assessments and updates on the haze situation, along with its meteorological forecasts and data on hotspot activities, support efforts to prevent, detect and fight fires.
5 Singapore remains committed to working with the region to realise our vision of a haze-free ASEAN. We will continue to participate and contribute actively in all regional haze meetings such as the ASEAN Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution (AATHP) and the Sub-Regional Ministerial Steering Committee (MSC) on Transboundary Haze Pollution.