September 2021
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Commentaries

To stop the haze, take aim at land policies
by

When Mr Prayoto was born in Riau in 1980, oil palms occupied less than 10,000ha in the Indonesian province in central Sumatra. When he turned 21 and started working at the Riau Provincial Forestry Service, the figure breached one million hectares. It has since grown...

New demands in engaging China
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When China’s President Xi Jinping arrives this week in Singapore, his first state visit to the city-state will do more than commemorate the past 25 years of diplomatic relations. Singapore was an early interlocutor for Beijing, following the first historic meeting in Singapore between Deng Xiaoping...

Asean and the constant gardener
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Some weeks ago, the social media and the South-east Asian academic circle were abuzz in response to a speech by Singaporean diplomat Bilahari Kausikan, who likened Asean to a cow. He chided critics of Asean for not recognising Asean as it is, a cow, and wishing...

Putting the brakes on haze financing
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In all the finger-pointing over the transboundary haze, some banks in Singapore have come under the spotlight for allegedly financing the culprits behind Indonesia’s forest fires. Now the Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS) has a new set of guidelines for banks to incorporate responsible financing...

Getting firms to take responsibility for the haze
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It remains essential to work with the Indonesian government to address the haze. However, while intergovernmental cooperation remains key, there is every reason to expect corporations to do their part to stop the fires and haze or risk being taken to task. The first steps towards...

Seeing Indonesia through the haze
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There are reasons to be frustrated and angry about the haze pollution, caused by fires in Indonesian provinces. There are also reasons to question whether real action will be taken and can be effective. The problem is driven not by natural causes, but by man-made deforestation...

Confusion clouds regional cooperation to fight haze
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It is clear that the haze from fires burning in Indonesia has returned and is worsening. On Tuesday last week (Aug 25), visibility in Palembang, the provincial capital of South Sumatra, was down to about 300m. The count of possible fire hot spots has risen...

Focus on the future in this SG50 election
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The adage is that all politics is local and elections are too often nasty and short-sighted. For the General Election (GE) scheduled for Sept 11, these characteristics may well dominate the hustings. Rumours and blog sites tend to amplify these tendencies. Take, for example, the recent...

A sunny island set in the Asian hinterland
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It is a promising sign when an anniversary is occasion to look keenly forward as well as nostalgically backwards. So it is with Singapore’s golden jubilee celebrations this August. Singapore’s success as a globalised city-state owes itself in no small part to visionary leadership that used...

Indonesia’s One Map crucial for conflict-free development
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Indra Pelani was energetic and inquisitive. After planting the fields, he often roamed the village with his camera to record life in Tebo, a district in the resource-rich Indonesian province of Jambi. Sometimes he would capture clashes between the local farming community and the plantation...