1 Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Mr Masagos Zulkifli visited Jakarta and Palembang on 10-11 July 2017 to reaffirm Singapore’s commitment to work cooperatively with Indonesia in addressing environmental challenges, including tackling the haze issue. During the visit, Minister Masagos conveyed Singapore’s commitment to assist Indonesia in the event that widespread fires occur this year. Apart from meeting officials from the central and provincial governments to explore potential areas of cooperation, he also met with representatives from environmental NGOs and the business community to understand their preparations to prevent large-scale forest fires.
2 In Jakarta, Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Wiranto and Minister Masagos noted the long-standing and wide-ranging exchanges between Singapore and Indonesia that have contributed to the continued political and economic stability of the two countries. With regard to haze prevention, Minister Masagos expressed appreciation for the measures which had been put in place by the Indonesian Government, which helped to ensure that 2016 remained free of transboundary haze. In view of the need for continued vigilance in the upcoming dry season, Minister Masagos conveyed Singapore’s commitment to assist in combatting fires should there be a need. This assistance would consist of one C-130 aircraft for cloud seeding operations; a team from the Singapore Civil Defence Force to provide assessment and planning assistance in fire-fighting efforts; up to two C-130 aircraft to ferry the fire-fighting assistance team; and high resolution satellite pictures of fires and the coordinates of the fire sites. Coordinating Minister Wiranto thanked Minister Masagos for conveying the Singapore Government’s support, and emphasized the need for close cooperation in combatting the haze.
3 Minister Masagos also met with Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs Luhut Pandjaitan where they discussed collaboration on water and waste management, in particular waste-to-energy (WTE) systems. Coordinating Minister Pandjaitan expressed interest in learning more about WTE processes and technologies, including conducting technical exchanges and capacity building initiatives. Both Ministers also noted the strengthening of bilateral ties, and the scope to build on this longstanding relationship to further advance cooperation in celebration of 50 years of bilateral relations.
4 In Palembang, South Sumatra Governor Alex Noordin briefed Minister Masagos on the efforts of the province to prevent fires during the upcoming dry season and beyond. These efforts included early warning alerts for hotspots, regional deployment of assets for quicker response to fires, and stronger coordination between all stakeholders. Provincial Parliamentary Assembly Speaker Giri Kiemas also shared that President Jokowi’s directives were being judiciously implemented in the region. Minister Masagos encouraged South Sumatra to continue with these efforts and affirmed Singapore’s willingness to collaborate with South Sumatra on training and sustainable development programmes.
12 July 2017
Issued by the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources