Minister: Malaysia, Singapore to explore cooperation in R&D to address regional haze issue

Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Minister Yeo Bee Yin said Malaysia and Singapore have agreed to explore cooperation in Research and Development (R&D) in the area of peatland fire prevention and mitigation to find innovative solutions to address the haze issue in the region. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Minister Yeo Bee Yin said Malaysia and Singapore have agreed to explore cooperation in Research and Development (R&D) in the area of peatland fire prevention and mitigation to find innovative solutions to address the haze issue in the region. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

SINGAPORE, Nov 20 — Malaysia and Singapore have agreed to explore cooperation in Research and Development (R&D) in the area of peatland fire prevention and mitigation to find innovative solutions to address the haze issue in the region.

The agreement was achieved by Minister of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change of Malaysia (MESTECC) Yeo Bee Yin and her Singapore counterpart Masagos Zulkifli during a two-day Annual Exchange of Visits (AEV) which ended on November 15.

Singapore hosted this year’s AEV, an avenue for the environment ministries of both countries to discuss and address environment-related matters.

According to a statement by MESTECC, Yeo and Masagos expressed concern over the transboundary haze from land and forest fires in the region which affected the citizens of Malaysia and Singapore.

The ministers noted the progress made by Asean member states in addressing the perennial problem of transboundary haze pollution, and urged all parties to renew their commitment to implement the Asean Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution (AATHP).

The Malaysian delegation comprised Deputy Secretary-General (Environment and Climate Change) of MESTECC Dr Nagulendran Kangayatkarasu, and senior officials from MESTECC, Department of Environment (DOE) and other government agencies.

The Singapore delegation comprised Permanent Secretary Albert Chua and senior officials from the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources, the National Environment Agency Singapore and other government agencies.

Since 1979, the AEV has facilitated closer ties and cooperation between the two ministries in environment-related matters through a long-term commitment and coordinated action.

Both ministers also noted progress in exploring new areas of cooperation such as climate change, waste management including plastics and packaging waste, circular economy, industrial pollution and radiation safety, and looked forward to the conduct of joint efforts as appropriate.

During the AEV, the ministers reviewed the progress achieved by the Malaysia-Singapore Joint Committee on the Environment (MSJCE), which met on Nov 14, 2019.

Among others, both exchanged views on control of vehicular emissions.

The ministers noted the close bilateral cooperation to reduce harmful vehicular emissions so as to achieve better air quality in both countries.

They encouraged both sides to continue to exchange information on policies and identify best practices for controlling vehicular emissions.

Yeo also visited the Centre for Climate Research Singapore that undertakes research on tropical climate variability and change, and the associated weather systems affecting Singapore and the wider Asean region.

The next AEV in 2020 will be held in Malaysia. — Bernama

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