Jun 26, 2013

    PM hopes for swift and sustained action on fires

    SINGAPORE Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong yesterday responded to Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's apology for the haze.

    He called the apology "gracious", but added that a permanent solution needed to be found.

    Dr Yudhoyono underscored his resolve to fight forest fires during a press conference in Jakarta on Monday.

    "It was gracious of Dr Yudhoyono to apologise to the people of Singapore and Malaysia for the current haze situation," said Mr Lee in a statement.

    "We accept his apology wholeheartedly. I welcome Dr Yudhoyono's promise to spare no efforts to tackle this serious problem which has caused suffering to the people of Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia."

    Mr Lee said that Dr Yudhoyono had stated that Indonesian police would investigate the man-made causes of the fires and take the necessary legal action against those responsible.

    "I hope that Indonesia will also take swift and sustained action to put out the forest fires and stop illegal land-clearing practices," said Mr Lee.

    "I would also like to reiterate Singapore's offer of assistance to Indonesia in putting out the fires.

    "Singapore stands ready to work closely with Indonesia, Malaysia and others in the region to bring the haze-related problems which have plagued our region to an end.

    "We need to put in place a permanent solution to prevent this problem from recurring annually."