22 August 2014
Singapore has passed legislation to hold actors accountable for fires causing transboundary haze. This demonstrates a new level of proactivity from a haze-affected state, and reveals both Singaporean resolve and limitations in the face of haze challenges.
After several months of public review and two days of parliamentary debate, the Singapore government passed the Transboundary Haze Pollution Bill on 5 August 2014. The Bill represents the most ambitious domestic effort to date for addressing Singapore’s haze problem. The Bill – quickly qualified as no ‘silver bullet’ by Environmental and Water Resource Minister Vivian Balakrishnan – had its genesis in the historically acute haze episode of late-June 2013 and enjoyed support from MPs across parties.
It seeks to create a framework of accountability for ‘errant companies’ that start haze-causing fires, and to deter such companies by threat of financial penalty. The future effectiveness of the Bill remains to be seen, but its message is fairly simple: Singapore will now employ punitive tools in its haze-response strategy.
… J. Jackson Ewing is an Adjunct Fellow with the Centre for Non-Traditional Security (NTS) Studies, a constituent unit of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University.
NTS Centre / RSIS / Online
Last updated on 25/08/2014