Singapore

Govt considering harsher penalties for companies that harm the environment: Dr Balakrishnan

Govt considering harsher penalties for companies that harm the environment: Dr Balakrishnan
Environment and Water Resources Minister Vivian Balakrishnan. TODAY File Photo
Published: August 22, 2:00 PM

SINGAPORE — Minister for Environment and Water Resources Vivian Balakrishnan today (Aug 22) reiterated that the Government is considering legislation to enhance penalties for companies whose irresponsible actions damage the environment and cause transboundary haze.

Speaking at the Singapore Environmental Achievement Awards, Dr Balakrishnan said legislation will be difficult to enforce but added that a “clear and unequivocal signal” needs to be sent to errant companies. This comes after the air quality on Tuesday fell into the moderate range after weeks of clear skies, following Singapore's worst haze episode in June.

Lauding award winners for doing their part for the environment, he said companies should not work at only earning short term profits that cause negative impact to the society at large.

Using the example of the errant palm oil companies operating in Indonesia, Dr Balakrishnan said that their actions have damaged the reputation of the industry and country.

“You privatise the game but you socialise the negative environmental impact. It does not appear on the company’s bottom line but everybody else suffers,” he said.