September 2021
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Commentaries

Stumbling to map a path through the haze
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It was probably wrong to expect too much too fast when Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) environment ministers met to discuss the haze, caused by fires in Indonesia. Never mind that Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, which hosted the meeting, have suffered record-high and hazardous levels...

West hurting only itself with economic sanctions on Myanmar
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Myanmar’s opening up has attracted much interest, not only from its Asian neighbours but also those in the West that once considered the country a pariah state. Recent events, however, suggest that Naypyidaw’s honeymoon with the United States and Europe may be waning over political issues....

Making haze crimes pay
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The newly-proposed fine for haze crimes is a crystal-clear sign of the Government’s determination to stop slash-and-burn tactics used by the agroforestry resource sector in land clearing. Announced in Parliament on Monday after a month-long public consultation, the toughened Transboundary Haze Pollution Bill penalises companies...

Fighting haze: What consumers, firms can do
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Recent warnings of a potential three-month prolonged haze crisis comparable to the severe episodes in 1997 and last year are worrying. Earlier in the year, large numbers of hot spots were already noted in Sumatra. There is also a high possibility of the region entering into...

Reacting to China – and its grand plan
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We now know the reactions in Vietnam to China’s move to begin drilling for oil in the South China Sea that both sides claim. More than 20,000 Vietnamese workers spilled out of control, attacking factories thought to be Chinese-owned, including those at two Singapore-run industrial...

ASEAN must learn from the Fukushima disaster
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On the third anniversary of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, the tragic events of March 11, 2011, continue to cast a shadow over Japan’s environment and politics. Despite efforts by the authorities in the past few years, reports of contamination from the crippled plant continue to...

Asean leaders ride out the South China Sea storms
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When leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations gathered this week in Myanmar, the weather forecast was for high temperatures combined with a chance of storms. The political atmosphere proved similar, with lightning-rod issues converging on the regional group's first summit of the year. South...

Tuning into a world of protests
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Touring protest sites in Bangkok some weeks back, I listened to music, picked up some souvenirs and had a milky, iced Thai tea. The mood was carnival but shrill whistles and placards with slogans like "Thaksin Get Out" make clear the political point. I felt safe...

Singapore’s role in building a global nuclear security culture
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The global nuclear fraternity meets biennially at the Nuclear Security Summit (NSS), taking place this year at The Hague. A brainchild of United States President Barack Obama, the NSS kicked off in 2010 and is a global platform aimed at preventing nuclear terrorism around the...

To end the haze problem, both penalties and cooperation are needed
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The Singapore Government’s move this week to penalise companies that cause haze is timely, given that fires are currently burning in Riau and Kalimantan. But the proposed laws are more than a symbol or knee-jerk reaction. The draft Transboundary Haze Pollution Bill, if passed, will allow...