OPINION: Why is there no existing crisis plan to manage haze crisis?


The Online Citizen, 22 Jun 2013
If crisis planning is important for those running businesses, it is even more imperative for governments that are responsible for the lives of millions.
But in the case of our government, what have they done instead? They have been ploddingly reactive and not proactive. Since the haze started about a week ago, they have held two press conferences, and the environment Minister Vivian Balakrishnan has gone on Talking Point TV program. Essentially, they talked a lot, to tell us this haze is not a problem they can really solve as it is not of their making, and that we have to “learn to adapt” to the conditions as it will last a long time. And they have issued advisories on official websites. More recently yesterday, several days after the haze started, they announced some piecemeal measures such as giving a discounted price of $10 to those who need to seek medical help for haze-related illnesses at certain clinics (but NOTE only if you are 18 or younger or older than 65. The rest of us are on our own).
In the second press conference held on Thursday, PM Lee said he had formed a Haze Inter-ministerial Comittee to review guidelines for protecting vulnerable groups, ensure continuity of society and businesses and issue clear guidance on the protective measures at each PSI threshold. This was a real shocker to me and many others.
Hello! You mean to tell us, our government has NO crisis plan in place to manage the haze which has been around since the early ’90s???
Only now are they forming an inter-ministerial committee. This explains why our various ministries had no answer for us when we asked them why haven’t they issued stop-work orders to construction companies where the workers are still slaving in the smog when the PSI has gone through the roof. It explains why our Manpower Minister Tan Chuan Jin and our Health Minister Gan Kim Yong have been strangely quiet when we are seeking answers on health and work guidelines. It explains why Environment Minister Vivian Balakrishnan put up such a pathetic performance on the Talking Point TV discussion on the haze on Thursday. Full story
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