“Because I Believe” by ITE S’pore

“Because I Believe” is ITE’s tribute to the graduating cohort of 2012/2013. This video was screened at the ITE Graduation Ceremony on 11 June 2013.

Ite Singapore   ITE S’pore

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School Continuity Plan for Haze Situation

1    The Ministry of Education (MOE) has announced its school continuity plan for the haze situation. Schools will take appropriate mitigation measures based on the health advisory for the day to ensure the well-being of our students and staff. The Ministry is also working closely with the Post-Secondary Education Institutions (PSEIs) on appropriate measures to be put in place.

Mitigation Measures for Primary and Secondary Schools

2    Schools will re-open on 1 July 2013 after the June school holidays. For as long as schools remain open, MOE and schools will take the following mitigation measures, which are based on the health advisory for the day:

Mitigation measures taken while in schools
  • School activities will be guided by the daily health advisory. For example, should the health advisory correspond to the ‘unhealthy’ level or above, there will be no outdoor activities.
  • To better enclose classrooms should the haze situation deteriorate, classroom windows and doors will be closed as far as possible while allowing adequate ventilation. Schools will also maximise the use of existing air-conditioned spaces for teaching and learning.
  • Schools could scale down lessons if necessary.
  • All schools have at least one air-conditioned room with an air purifier to temporarily accommodate students or staff who develop respiratory symptoms and / or are not feeling well, before they are taken to seek medical attention if necessary.
Response to transient rise in health advisory forecast to ‘hazardous’ level
  • All classroom windows and doors will be closed.
  • Schools will scale down lessons.
  • Students will be moved from classrooms to other enclosed indoor spaces, such as the library and school hall. The distribution of students across all enclosed indoor spaces will allow better thermal comfort and ventilation.
  • Students and staff who are unwell or have a medical history of chronic heart and lung disease will be taken to the air-conditioned room with an air purifier before they are taken to seek medical attention.

Closure of Primary and Secondary Schools

3    MOE will consider closing all primary and secondary schools to students when the health advisory for the next day indicates that the air quality will be at the hazardous level. School-based student care centres will not operate during periods of closure. On days when there are oral examinations for GCE ‘O’ and ‘N’ levels, candidates affected by school closure will have their oral examinations rescheduled. Should closure be prolonged, schools will activate home-based learning for their students.

4    Should the health advisory for the next day correspond to the ‘hazardous’ level, MOE will announce the closure of schools at around the same time that the health advisory is released. This will be at around 6.00 pm on the day before the schools are to be closed. Schools will also contact parents to inform them of the closure of schools for students via phone or SMS.

5    We would like to seek parents’ and employers’ understanding that relatively short notice for any announcement of school closure can be given, as the health advisory for the next day is only available in the late afternoon each day. We also wish to encourage parents to make advance care arrangements for their children if necessary for such an eventuality. Under those circumstances, we urge employers to exercise greater workplace flexibility in enabling their employees to care for their children.

Kindergartens and Child Care Centres

6    The Early Childhood Development Agency will align the closure of kindergartens and child care centres to the closure of schools.

Post-Secondary Education Institutions and Junior Colleges

7     The considerations for closure of PSEIs, namely the Autonomous Universities, Polytechnics and ITE, as well as Junior Colleges/Centralised Institute are different. This is because most of the teaching and learning takes place in enclosed indoor spaces, such as lecture theatres, and the students are older. MOE will work closely with these institutions to ensure the well-being of their students and be guided by the health advisory.

Link : MOE – School Continuity Plan for Haze Situation

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Video A.  Appropriate measures in place to protect students from haze – MOE

Video B  Ensuring well-being of students with appropriate precautions — MOE

The Real Singapore has published an article falsely attributed to me, it is pure fiction – Ms Irene Ng

Thought should alert readers that the website The Real Singapore has published an article falsely attributed to me it is pure fiction. It carries the title: “PAP MP IRENE NG: WE SHOULD NOT PLAY THE BLAME GAME OVER THE HAZE PROBLEM”, with my photo and the attribution to me as PAP MP. 

I did not write this article and have nothing to do with it. Sad that the website allows the publication of such malicious forgeries in the name of an elected MP to deceive and mislead their readers. I have asked TRS to take down the article from its website immediately, and to apologise for publishing the article, and for the damage caused to me.

Given the seriousness of the matter, I have also made a police report. Cheating, fraud and impersonation– whether online or in real life – cannot be condoned. Singaporeans deserve better and need to know when they are being duped by a website with fictitious articles and forgeries. It is one thing for a website or its writers to be critical of the Government; it is another to impersonate an MP and deceive its readers.

I am all for freedom of speech and for people to have the right to express their views. But this is not about freedom of speech – it is about forgery and impersonation with a malicious intent to deceive. And some Singaporeans have indeed been deceived, as can be seen by the posts following the article. Such unethical and criminal activity must not be allowed to happen with impunity. Otherwise, all MPs – and, indeed, anyone of us – can be the next victims of such a crime and there will be no end of it. This will not be in Singapore’s interest. Such irresponsible and unethical websites need to be exposed.

Hence, I have decided to take this stand. I take no pleasure from this. 

Hope for your support. Look forward particularly to the support of all the reasonable people in the Singaporean online community who believe in their ability and responsibility to check each other and to uphold ethical standards online. Thank you.

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* Update from Ms Irene’ Fb * 28.6.2013

There has been some posts about why TRS did not verify the authenticity of the article with me.

I asked TRS that same question in my email asking it to take down the post. In its email reply to me today, TRS said that it did not verify the article with me for this reason: “We are unable to deal with the authenticity of PAP MPs because none of them reply to our emails and request…”

Amazing. I don’t know how it can then genuinely believe that a PAP MP would send them an article to publish.

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Comments : 

“Someone with the email of IreneNg.TampinesGRC@gmail.com actually sent the email to us.”

Ridiculous reasoning there. So if I set up a gmail account “therealsingapore@gmail.com”, does this mean I’m authentic?
Obviously not.

Accept the blame and stop coming up with weak excuses for your editorial lapse, please. It does not do any justice to the online news community of Singapore to continue with your current slant.

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Con artists trying to fake and peddle their fake goods on the website. Sounds like black market.. Readers beware!

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FreeMyInternet from such sites !!

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Wow. Politics in Singapore taken to a whole new level with people attributing made-up statements to MP Irene Ng. Perhaps The Real Singapore could admit it’s mistake forthrightly and live up to it’s name rather than simply pushing the blame elsewhere.

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“FreeMyInternet”? All the more we need Mr Yaccob’s new guidelines. No. Not new guidelines. It’s even tougher punishments against those spreading falsehoods and refusing to provide evidence to back their claims in their post! Very thick skin of those midgets to impersonate a genuine MP eh?

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First it was “we replied and verify. we even email to her Tampines GRC email.” Now its “We are unable to deal with the authenticity of PAP MPs because none of them reply to our emails and request…” So which is the truth? First? Second? Or neither? Those Real Slimeballs.

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The Real Singapore FB page published a forged post that was attributed to MP Irene Ng, and which had drawn vitriolic attacks against her. How ironic for a site calling itself “Real”. Have we sunk this low that people are forging things to attack their political opponents? What’s next, sending poison through the mail? We don’t need this!

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Not easy being politicians.. Often maligned and quoted out of context. As readers we just have to be discerning..

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the credibility of  therealsingapore has always been questionable, such irresponsible ppl.

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As moderate Singaporean living in this Country, we have to action against this baseless information & fabrication that will harm the fabric of Singapore.

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although i am not a PAP supporter, i do agree that such falsehoods should not be condoned .. impersonating another person (be it MP or otherwise) is indeed shameless, especially if its done with a clear intent to hurt/malign the person involved.

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Let me guess , soon these anti-government website will say PAP forbid freedom of speech and they will then again gather at hong lim park and protest FreeMyInternet 

To these bloggers like the infamous Andrew Loh who cursed the President , being responsible is out of their equation .

They as usual will cry being victimized by the government . 

What Irene Ng is doing now is the real FreeMyInternet from these nonsense

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by now TRS have firmly accredited itself as the glaring testimony of whats wrong about irresponsible media.

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Latest – 30 June 2013

A netizen has come forward to claim ownership of the article falsely attributed to Ms Irene Ng.

Read his post as attached.


Since We Love Comparing, Let’s Compare.

Its part of our culture,
Competition, and comparison.

Advocating the comparison spirit,
Allow me to do a little comparison on the recent events, with stories I’ve personally heard/experienced from other parts of the world.

The idea is to bring about a different perspective to you,
And most importantly,
Induce a reflective moment within you.

Comparison #1

Us: When the haze situation first hit Singapore. Most people spent their time making their displeasures heard on social media, laying blame on others and queuing up for hello kitty in the midst of the whole ordeal.

Brisbane: When an unexpected flood hit brisbane in 2011. Most people were busy on social media, starting movements to call for volunteers to help combat the flood. 55,000 people came up within days, and collectively wandered along the muddy streets with mops and sandbags. All in the effort to protect their city and loved ones from the crisis.

Comparison #2

Us: The Hello Kitty crazed caught on to us once again, 13 years after it first hit Singapore. People were queuing up overnight, braving the haze and even got themselves into arguments just to get a piece of that mouthless cat. And to top it all off, there were people who paid and blatantly throw the meals away without even taking a bite from it.

Myanmar: When a cyclone hit Yangon in 2008, 10,000 civilians were killed. Everywhere was in chaos: no food, no clean water and dead animals and human corpses were floating everywhere on the river. When humanitarian aids came with ration and water, government swindled it for their own gains. With limited ration left after, many expected a riotous scene with people fighting for the limited ration. Alas, the scene surprised even the NGOs. Populace queuing in an orderly manner, only going up to collect when their names were called. When a NGO rep asked one of the local translator how is it that everyone is so calm, he simply replied: “Life goes on”.

Comparison #3

Us: We read and rightly mourned about regional news of cases of single or multiple small/moderate magnitudes of people dying from unfortunate accidents. We also openly share stories of animal abuse and rightly advocate saving animals from harm’s way.

Syria: Today, it is reported that the death toll of the 27-month war in Syria has hit 100,000 (close to 7,000 are children), that’s close to 4,000 deaths a month. Putting it into context, the total death toll amounts to 65% of our Ang Mo Kio population. The death tolls have been regularly reported on our papers, but maybe because its far from home, so it subconsciously becomes out of mind. But the fact of the matter is this: This is indeed happening as we speak.

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As much as we love comparing,
It is important to remind ourselves to be impartial in our comparison process.

We compare with the better so that we can create a benchmark for us to strive towards.

However in that process,
We must not forget to compare with the people below us, As a reminder for us to remain down-to-earth amidst all our achievements,

And also to retain that sense of compassion within our hearts.”

by  Joe T

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image from the net

Mr Shanmugam clarifies his past directorships in companies controlled by Sinar Mas Group. And a private conversation with Remy Choo, public by Kirsten Han who read sinister motive to the conversation where there was none.

Singapore’s Law and Foreign Affairs Minister K Shanmugam clarifies his past directorships in companies controlled by Sinar Mas Group. – CNA.
News link-  Shanmugam clarifies his past directorships in companies controlled by Sinar Mas Group

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   K Shanmugam Sc

1. The media has asked me questions on my past directorships in Asia Food & Properties Ltd (“AFP”) and Golden Agri-Resources Ltd (“GAR”) (controlled by the Sinar Mas Group, “SMG”).These questions have been raised because one senior Indonesian official had said last week, that SMG, (which has some companies in Singapore), was among those who were burning in Indonesia, and causing the haze.

2. There are two aspects to consider:-

(1) are companies in Singapore involved in the burning in Indonesia?; and

(2) the facts relating to my past directorships in AFP and GAR.

I. Are companies in Singapore involved in the burning?

3. Senior Indonesian officials have issued contradictory statements on this point. One senior official said last week that Singapore linked companies were involved in the burning. But two other senior Indonesian officials have contradicted him and said that there was no basis for saying this. Indonesia has acknowledged that its officials have been contradicting each other on this point, and that what is needed is a proper investigation. SMG, as well as other companies, have also denied the allegations. SMG has invited observers to visit its plantations to see for themselves the situation on the ground.

4. Singapore has formally asked Indonesia, through a Diplomatic Note, for evidence of any Singapore linked company involvement in the burning. If and when such evidence is received, it will be handed over to the Attorney General to consider what action can be taken.

II. My past directorships in AFP and GAR

5. In June 1996, the SGX asked me and two others (Mr Wong Kok Siew and Mr Ho Tian Yee) to become independent directors, of a listed company called Amcol, because Amcol was in serious trouble. Most of Amcol’s then directors were told to step down. Amcol had over 11,000 shareholders, many of them Singaporeans who had invested using their CPF. The three of us were asked to go in and see how the investing public shareholders of Amcol could be helped. Price Waterhouse valued each Amcol share at 1 cent and Amcol went into Judicial Management (“JM”).

6. We handled the affairs of Amcol, together with the JMs. A white knight, SMG, was eventually found for Amcol. SMG took over Amcol in 1997, using AFP.

7. AFP was then listed, and I became a director of AFP. Based on the listing price, the original Amcol shareholders who had kept their shares got a substantial benefit – as opposed to Amcol going bankrupt and being wound up. I did not charge or receive any fees for this work – the work was done to help the public, who were Amcol shareholders.

8. GAR was listed in 1999 as a subsidiary of AFP and I was appointed a director of GAR.

9. When AFP was listed in 1997, I wanted to step down, as the work SGX had asked me to do, (to help Amcol shareholders), was completed. However, SMG asked me to stay on for a period, to give confidence to shareholders, given that the company had gone through difficult times. I agreed to SMG’s request.

10. In 2001, I stepped down from both the AFP and GAR Boards, as the transition was over and SMG had found new directors.

11. Throughout this period, I did not own any shares in Amcol, AFP or GAR. I did my duty on behalf of shareholders as requested by SGX. And I have never owned any shares in any of these companies. As director of AFP and GAR, I received director’s fees, similar to other directors.

12. I have also been asked about APP Ltd. APP was listed in the NYSE. I had no dealings whatsoever with APP.

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   K Shanmugam Sc

I have been asked about Ms Kirsten Han’s post at spuddings.net. Unfortunately the picture Ms Han has painted is quite untrue. To give her the benefit of doubt, she was not part of the conversation and may not therefore have had the full picture.

I spoke with Remy Choo whom I know and whom I have engaged with. I discuss issues with Remy – I have met him in my office, have met him for dinner, and have had phone conversations with him on various topics. Yesterday, I spoke with Remy about an article that had appeared, and told him the facts. He told me that he himself had thought that the article was actionable and contained a lot of unverifiable allegations. I agreed and told him that the article was libellious – both of us as lawyers agreed on that point.

We then went on to discuss a possible meeting between some of his friends and myself. This was part of my exercise to reach out to people and discuss issues. Remy said he will try and arrange such a meeting.

Remy sent me an email today which pretty much confirms his views that the article is libellious, and saying that he would like to be an “honest and forthright dialogue partner” even if we disagree on issues where we disagree strongly.

My conversation with Remy was like all our usual conversations, where we shared views frankly with each other. I am surprised to see that conversation appearing in print, twisted to give quite an untrue picture.

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   Remy Choo Zheng Xi   ( Remy Choo is the co-founder and consultant editor of The Online Citizen. )

Yesterday evening I received a call from Law Minister Mr K Shanmugam regarding an article written by Eric Ellis for The Global Mail, entitled “Out of the Haze, a Singapore Spring?”

The call came rather late at night, but I guess lawyers (and Law Ministers) are rather nocturnal. Minister shared his views about the article, noting that he thought it was libellous. Minister also noted that it had been re-published. I agreed that there were many unverifiable facts in the article and that it appeared to me that the article was libellous. 

As the conversation concerned an article that was being re-published by my friends, I informed them of this conversation and the views of Minister. I had earlier in the day informed them of my opinion that the article was libellous under Singapore’s laws on defamation (and that as much as I disagreed with the scope of defamation laws, this was the law as I understood it).

I want to clarify that all my communications with Minister have been cordial, open and frank and that my phone call with him relating to the Ellis article felt anything but sinister to me. 

I thank Kirsten for the concern she expressed towards me in her article “Midnight phone calls”.

*Latest update *

Many people have been attacking Kirsten Han for her assertion in her article “Midnight Phone Calls” that I was told to “convey” a message by Law Minister to persons who were re-publishing the article written by Eric Ellis for The Global Mail, saying that he was aware about it being shared widely online and that he would not hesitate to sue those republishing it.

This misapprehension is no fault of hers: this is what I told her after my phone call with Minister Shanmugam. It was incorrect and unfair of me to indicate that the Minister wanted to “convey” a message that he “will not hesitate to sue”, and for her to be blamed for the mischaracterization.

The fault for the mischaracterization lies completely with my misunderstanding of the purpose of the phone call from Minister. As I said in my earlier post, the purpose of the phone call was a personal communication about a public matter. I apologize to both the Minister and Kirsten for the miscommunication, which was solely occasioned by me.

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“Midnight phone calls”  – by Kirsten Han

Yesterday I heard from a friend that he had received a phone call – at midnight – from our Law Minister K Shanmugam. It was regarding an article written by Eric Ellis for The Global Mail, entitled ‘Out of the Haze, a Singapore Spring?’

The Minister said he was aware that the article was being re-posted widely online, and wanted my friend to convey that he would not hesitate to sue those republishing it.

This was most troubling to hear. Firstly, it must have been a surprising and worrying phone call for my friend to receive so late at night. Personally, I find it rather bizarre behaviour.

Secondly, why did the Law Minister feel it necessary to call someone up in the middle of the night to get him to ‘convey’ a message? And to whom, exactly, did he want the message conveyed?

Last, but not least: apart from the original on The Global Mail I don’t know how many times the article has been reproduced in full. I have, however, seen it shared widely on Facebook and Twitter as people are sharing the link. Are these the people the Minister will not hesitate to sue?

People share links on social networks for a variety of reasons. (In fact, those who have frictionless sharing turned on might be sharing links without even realising it.) It doesn’t necessarily mean that they endorse the article.

Should we now be afraid of sharing things on Facebook?

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Comments  :

(refer to an article written by Eric Ellis for The Global Mail, entitled “Out of the Haze, a Singapore Spring?” )
It is outright and unsubstantiated claims that will be the downfall of our government if they do not take it seriously and prevent it from happening. The sheer amount of “shares” of those who believe it to be true goes to show how blinded people are to actual current affairs, or even by certain opposition elements.

The author himself probably doesn’t even know his facts, and most of these about corrupt Burmese or Indonesians, can be found on a few dubious websites owned by dissidents who’ve made unsubstantiated claims.

It has also been said that the Singapore government cannot control what a listed company does in another country. That would be conflating politics with business interests; it is up to the affected sovereign country to take action. Claiming that our politicians are corrupt and have intimate dealings with these polluters is merely conspiracy theory: where’s the proof?

Is the inaction of Indonesia’s government our fault?

Furthermore, what you put on your CV is a personal and professional preference – who are you to lay the ground rules for what others want or do not want to put on their CV?

I wonder where the writer got his sources from. The dubious opposition politicians like Chee Soon Juan who have been sued for their slander and libellous statements and claims against the government, or did he get it from the political dissidents who have fled the country because they were afraid to be sued for their unsubstantiated claims, such as Gopalan Nair?

I’ve seen the stuff Chee has put on Youtube, and what Gopalan has written, and these are fictitious claims that have been twisted, shredded, and rehashed to a semblance of “truth” – if you could call these truths. So much spin has been put by these outspoken opposition politicians, that those who actually follow current affairs as they occur know they’re false claims. Only the ardent supporters of these dubious political figures buy into their rhetoric wholesale without searching out data that’s contrary to their claims – which are available publicly.

In a way, if Singapore’s mainstream media dares to publish articles with bold claims by anyone, and even the government, you can be sure that they’re not afraid of a challenge to the contrary. Hey, it’s public information, and you are welcome to challenge it rather than hide on the interwebs and spam your conspiracy theories with anonymity. But at the end of the day the challenge is for you to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that what’s published and easily verifiable in the mainstream media is false, and your claims are true.

Alas, we are a generation of people who prefer to queue and fight over cheap Hello Kitties from McDonald’s, and the latest mobile gaming crazes.

The impetus then for the Average Joe who routinely opposes the government is to stop, read and think about the claims made by both sides, and look for sources available to give you a better understanding of the situation, instead of perpetuating the ridiculous and slanderous claims of the real “Demoncratic” parties.

Well it seems from Choo Zheng xi ‘s clarification that it was indeed Kirsten Han who overrated and read a sinister motive to the conversation where there was none.

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Its no surprise that Remy choose to feed this info to Kirsten Han.

Kirsten has many of the similar hangups that Remy saw in a much older Andrew Loh. Both Kirsten and Andrew are desperate to carve a career as investigative journalists in Singapore. Andrew went from TOC to Public House and now concentrates on Yahoo News.

Kirsten also had her start in TOC, and now dabbles in The Huffingtonpost and The Diplomat. With Kirsten, Remy knows he has a willing fetcher of any bone he throws. He probably tried to get Andrew to start the rumour mill going, but I guess Andrew’s expletive-laced outburst at President Tony Tan meant he needs to go into hiding for a little while.

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From what both Shanmugam and Remy have said here, all that happened last night was a conversation between two professionals sharing their views on a matter of law (as lawyers tend to do, I think), and that it wasn’t the first time Remy has met or discussed things with the minister.

And it seems that despite the article being libelous, Shanmugam was looking to “reach out and discuss” it with those who were sharing it. So the real question here is what exactly Kirsten was trying to do by making their conversation public.

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Libel is Libel..

if anyone publishes an untruth…then they must be prepared to face the consequences of their actions. Otherwise every tom dick and harry would publish lies more lies and even further lies.

“netcitzens” if they post lies or as is the proper description “Publish” then just like any other publisher must be responsible for what they print.

Why should any victim of libel be denied their good name.

One or more commentators above appear to hold a view [ that in their view ] some office holders are not entitled to protect themselves...why?

The Minister is entitled to his name! And, if anyone publishes a libel…to protect himself from scurrilous attacks!

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Insight: The transboundary haze and the international law – by Mr Tommy Koh and Mr Michael Ewing-Chow

The fires in Sumatra have choked Malaysia and Singapore, causing the air to be hazardous to the health of their citizens.

The increase in hotspots and the ineffectiveness of the efforts by Indonesia to reduce them has frustrated these ASEAN neighbors. The fundamental principle of sovereignty in international law means that they, without the consent of Indonesia, cannot attempt to put out the fires in Sumatra.

However, the law does not leave them without recourse. If the perpetrators of the fires can be identified, they could be subject to legal action. In domestic law, if the owner of a house were to start a fire, whether on purpose or negligently, the owner would be liable for any damage caused to his neighbors.

A similar doctrine has also been developed in international law. The 1941 Trail Smelter dispute involved a smelter in Canada whose smoke spread over the border causing air pollution in the US. An international tribunal found that Canada was responsible for environmental damage caused by the transboundary pollution. This is a fundamental principle of international environmental law — that activities in a state’s territory should not cause transboundary harm.

The main culprits in the present case are the plantation owners, who have chosen to clear land on the cheap by burning. They are the ones starting the fires without regard for the damage caused to their own citizens and their neighbors.

While a civil lawsuit against them may be an option, a more immediate alternative would be a citizens’ boycott of products made by plantations that clear land by burning.

As this would not be a governmental measure, it would not affect trade obligations. The owners of the
plantations would then have to prove to the public that they do not engage in such practices. This has in the past been effective in hitting corporations where it hurts — their bottom line.

Governments could also take action against the plantation owners. They could ban the import of their products by using the “necessary to protect […] health” exception found in trade agreements. It would have to be proven that the products were linked to the fires and that this was the “least trade restrictive” solution. Governments could also enact criminal laws against such acts of pollution.

Most laws are territorial. However, international law has also recognized the effects doctrine allowing for extraterritorial jurisdiction if the actions affect the state asserting such a jurisdiction. If such laws were passed, governments could prosecute the plantation owners for activities carried out outside their territory.

A contributing factor to the haze was the slow response of officials. Several Indonesian ministers appeared to be in denial and made unhelpful remarks. Eventually, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono stepped in, ordered immediate water bombing of the fires and apologized to his ASEAN neighbors. His actions were commendable and we thank him for his statesmanship.

The 2002 ASEAN Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution has been signed and ratified by nine ASEAN countries. The Agreement came into force in 2003. Indonesia has signed but not ratified it. Under international law, a state is obliged to refrain from acts which would defeat the purpose of a treaty it has signed. The purpose of the Haze Agreement is “to prevent and monitor transboundary haze pollution […] through concerted national efforts and intensified regional and international cooperation”.

Indonesia played a leadership role in the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio. Principle number two of the Rio Declaration of Principles states that “states have, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and the principles of international law, […] the responsibility to ensure that activities within their jurisdiction or control do not cause damage to the environment of other states”.

We hope Indonesia will use the current crisis as an opportunity to ratify the Haze Agreement. We also hope Indonesia will investigate and prosecute those responsible for the fires, irrespective of their nationality. We should remember that the Indonesians are the first victims of the fire-setters. This is, therefore, our common problem and we should solve it together in the spirit of ASEAN solidarity.

Tommy Koh is chairman and Michael Ewing-Chow is head of the trade law and investment
program of The Centre for International Law at NUS.

Link : The transboundary haze and the international law – by  Mr Tommy Koh and Mr Michael Ewing-Chow

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The National Environment Agency says at this point, there are no plans for schools to remain shut when term starts next week.
Singapore had slightly hazier conditions today because of a shift in wind directions http://cna.asia/19EJmtH The PSI for tomorrow should be in the moderate band, but 24-hr PM2.5 levels may rise.  – CNA

Have our real incomes been stagnating? – Factually on Incomes and Purchasing Power

Published Date: 14 June, 2013

Real incomes are incomes that have been adjusted for price changes. 

The majority of Singaporean workers and households have seen growth in their real incomes in the five-year period from 2007 to 2012. Real income growth in 2007-2012 was also stronger than in the earlier five-year period of 2002-2007.

For the lower 20 percent of Singaporeans, income growth was weak or negative in 2002-2007, and only recovered in the last five years (2007-2012).

Individual wages

The median worker saw real wage growth of 9.3% in 2007-2012. However, in the previous five years from 2002 to 2007, real wages of the median worker declined by 0.2% [Chart 1].

Real wages of the worker at the 20th percentile grew more slowly at 4.4% in 2007-2012, offsetting a fall by 3.7% from 2002 to 2007.

Note that the figures for real income growth are after deducting ‘All-Items CPI’ inflation. This includes costs of imputed rentals on owner-occupied homes, which are not actual cash expenditures. Real income growth in the last five years was stronger when excluding this item – at 8.2% and 13.2% respectively for the 20th percentile and median income worker in 2007-2012 (see footnote to Chart 1). 

Chart 1: Change in the Real Gross Monthly Income from Work (including employer CPF contributions) of full-time employed Singapore Citizen, 2002-2007 & 2007-2012 (June)


Source: MOM
Note: Deflating by CPI excluding imputed rentals on owner-occupied accommodation, the cumulative real growth for the 20th percentile and median income are -4.5% and -1.1% respectively in 2002-2007 and 8.2% and 13.2%respectively in 2007-2012.

Household income

Similarly, real median monthly household income from work on a per household member basis has increased by 13.9% in the last five years (2007-2012), after growing by 7.9% in the previous five years (2002-2007) [Chart 2].

Real income growth at the 20th percentile was also stronger in the second half of the decade (10.2%) than the first half (4.4%).

Real income growth in the last five years was stronger when excluding imputed rentals on owner-occupied homes  – at 19.2%and 18.8% respectively for the 20th percentile and median income household in 2007-2012 (see footnote to Chart 2).

Chart 2: Cumulative Real Change in Monthly Household Income from Work Per Household Member Among Employed Singaporean Households, 2002-2007 & 2007-2012.


Source: DOS
* Deflating by CPI excluding imputed rentals on owner-occupied accommodation, the cumulative real growth for the 20th percentile and median income households are 3.1% and 7.2% respectively in 2002-2007 and 19.2%and 18.8% respectively in 2007-2012.
Household income from work includes employer CPF contributions.

International comparisons of real income growth

Slowing or stagnating incomes are a challenge for most developed countries, and the more developed ones in Asia. Chart 3 compares real income growth in Singapore with that in similar Asian economies. The median Singaporean household has seen its real income grow more than twice as fast as that in Hong Kong, and more so compared to South Korea and Taiwan.

Chart 3: Real Growth of Median Total Household Incomes after Accounting for Taxes and Transfers, 2007-2011 (Cumulative)


Source: Data from National Statistical Offices and the IMF

Notes:

  • South Korea: based on average rather than median income. Also includes transfers but not taxes.
  • Hong Kong: based on median income after accounting for cash transfers.
  • Hong Kong data is for 2006-2011, unlike the other three countries (2007-2011).
  • Cumulative real growth for Singapore from 2007-2012 is 17.7%. Data for 2012 is not available for Hong Kong, South Korea and Taiwan.

Reference:

Source Link :  Facutally – Have our real incomes been stagnating?