Despite Indonesia committing to ratify the regional pact on transboundary haze pollution by early next year, at the latest, and agreeing to share digitised concession maps with other governments, Singapore’s Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Vivian Balakrishnan left yesterday’s regional meeting on the haze problem “disappointed (but) not surprised”, in his own words …
Only two of the four outcomes that Singapore had sought were fully met after the four-hour meeting: Getting the participating countries — Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei and Thailand — to involve high-level officials from all relevant ministries and agencies from each country in the MSC process, and getting a commitment from Indonesia to ratify the ASEAN Transboundary Haze Pollution Agreement “expeditiously”.
Singapore was unable to get an agreement from Indonesia to renew their collaboration to reduce forest fires at Jambi and other provinces if possible, with Indonesia issuing a noncommittal response to offers of bilateral collaborations from Malaysia and Singapore.
While it welcomed the offers, Indonesia is “currently identifying the areas of cooperation which will maximise and bring mutual benefits for all parties concerned”, a press released issued after the meeting said.
Singapore had also hoped to get the participating countries to submit their concession maps and agree a date for the public launch of the ASEAN Sub-Regional Haze Monitoring System (HMS) platform to enable identification errant companies engaging in slash-and-burn practices.
Maps from the Indonesian govt are the only way S’pore can establish whether S’pore-based companies are telling the truth about where the fires are burning. If the accounts of the S’porean (mostly controlled by Indonesians) are taken at their face value, the fires are almost always anywhere except on their land. Note that despite the allegations by Indon officials that S’pore companies started fires , only one co, a M’sian co,has been charged.
Meiji Yasuda Life Insurance Co is expected to acquire a 15% stake in Thai Life Insurance Co. in what would be one of the biggest investments ever in Asia by a Japanese life insurer With the planned investment worth about ¥70 bn (US%700bn), Meiji Yasuda wants to make the major Thai insurer into an equity-method affiliate and dispatch executives, the sources said.
Like other Japanese insurers, Meiji Yasuda is looking to expand overseas earnings, especially in Asia, amid sluggish business at home due to the aging of society.
Sumitomo Life Insurance Co. has made a ¥28 bn investment in Vietnam’s top insurance group, while Dai-ichi Life Insurance Co. in June announced a ¥34.3 bn investment in Indonesia.
Sumitimo which lost out to Yasuda is now looking to Indonesia where Bank Negara is looking to sell up to 40% of its life business for up to $800m, according to the FT.
Japanese banks have been active too. http://atans1.wordpress.com/?s=Mitsubishi