All bilateral cooperation with Singapore being reviewed by Indonesian Environment Minister


JAKARTA ( - Indonesia's Minister of the Environment and Forestry, Dr Siti Nurbaya, has confirmed that her ministry is in the process of reviewing all bilateral cooperation, including both existing and planned future bilateral collaborations, with Singapore in the field of the environment and forestry.

“I’m leading this review process myself. This is a substantial step that needs to be taken. We have a set of clear and measured criteria in this review process,” the minister told on Thursday (May 12) after wrapping up a meeting with a number of local government officials in her office.

She went on to say that there would definitely be some existing bilateral collaborations with Singapore in the field of the environment and forestry that would have to be terminated.

“We are looking at these bilateral collaborations in terms of substance. If it comes down to breaking off any existing bilateral collaborations, this would be the logical consequence of a substance-based review process,” the minister explained.

The minister went even further, saying that all planned bilateral collaborations with Singapore, including those concerning haze and forest fire-related issues, would also be subject to this substantial review process.

“This all forms part of the substantial review process in the field of the environment and forestry. Planned bilateral collaborations between Singapore and my ministry, such as those involving haze and forest fire-related issues, are no exception,” she asserted. 

Just like existing bilateral collaborations, there would also be planned bilateral collaborations scrapped before they even came into existence. At present, all procedures with respect to planned bilateral collaborations have been put on hold.

“We are conducting this review process on a comprehensive and substantial basis,” the minister emphasized.

She also said that she had already drafted a letter to be sent to a number of local governments requesting that they refrain from any direct bilateral cooperation with Singapore, in particular with regard to haze and forest fire-related issues.

“Once again, this also forms part of the review process for all bilateral collaborations in the field of the environment and forestry with Singapore,” the minister reiterated.

When asked to what extent the Singaporean Ministry of the Environment was involved in this bilateral collaboration review process, the minister pointed out that the review process currently underway formed part of a set of measures being undertaken by her ministry alone, and was not a joint process with Singapore.

“We are only going to inform Singapore, at a later stage, of the existing bilateral collaborations that are to be terminated as well as those planned collaborations which will not go ahead. Basically, we only feel obliged to notify them (the Singaporean Ministry of the Environment) of our decisions,” the minister said firmly.

No scapegoat being sought

As to the request made by Singapore to the Indonesian government about data and information on companies associated with and involved in last year’s land and forest fires, Dr Siti Nurbaya reaffirmed that her ministry would continue taking measures to uphold the law, most notably by imposing sanctions in the form of permit suspensions and revocations for concessions found to have violated the rules, as well as through legal action in the courts.

“We uphold the law in an independent manner based on Indonesia’s own laws and regulations. We certainly don’t rely on data and information derived from other countries as the basis for our legal processes. We are not looking for a scapegoat for not enforcing the law. The objective of our law enforcement measures is to create conditions which enable the prevention of any recurrence of land and forest fires this year and any other year in the future,” the minister concluded.