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    Jul 31, 2014

    Jokowi backs S'pore on stiffer fines for polluters


    INDONESIA'S President-elect, Joko Widodo, is backing Singapore's plan to impose heftier fines on overseas polluters, as long as sovereignty is respected.

    A year after Singapore endured its worst air quality, it presented a Bill to Parliament this month that subjects foreign companies to as much as $2 million in fines for illegal emissions, up from $300,000 before.

    Mr Joko, the Jakarta Governor known as Jokowi, who won this month's presidential election, agreed that companies implicated in unlawful fires would be fair game for Singapore's enforcers.

    The sticking point is the sovereignty of Indonesia, where "incredibly prickly" officials have yet to join other Asean nations in signing a transboundary haze pact, according to the Jakarta office of Control Risks Group.

    "We should have some detailed protocols to guarantee the sovereignty of Indonesia," said Sonny Keraf, an adviser to Mr Joko.

    "But we do appreciate the commitment of the Government in Singapore to penalise these companies' activities."

    Mr Joko will push to extend the Asean pact beyond haze to include other environmental threats, Mr Keraf said.