Ensure effective enforcement of Environmental Quality (Amendment) Act, 20.6.2007.
DAP National Deputy Chairman and MP for Kepong Dr Tan Seng Giaw presses the Government to train more enforcement officers, so that the Environmental Quality (Amendment) Act will be enforced effectively to protect Malaysian environment.
Dr Tan took part in the debate on the amendment to the Environmental Quality Act 1974 on 19 Jun, 2007.
We have to improve the Malaysian environment. There are signs of bad practices such as haphazard disposal of rubbish, sewerage and toxic waste. Enhancing the laws, their enforcement and education is essential.
An estimate in 2006 shows that about 10,000 factories produce dangerous toxic waste in the country. In 2004 and 2005, there were 469,584 metric tonnes and 489,161 metric tonnes of toxic waste respectively, increasing by 8-9% a year. How much toxic waste is produced by illegal factories?
An Organization and Industry Censor in 2005 indicates that there are 546,218 small and medium industries (SMI) in Malaysia, 489,161 of which are micro.
Between 2001 and 2005, the Government spent RM 8 million to clean 97 cases of illegal dumping of toxic waste. Since 2005, how many more cases have come to light. Last year, the illegal dumping in Johore of dangerous waste from Taiwan caused a furore.
The above-stated amendment provides for a mandatory imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years and a fine not exceeding RM 500,000 against any person who contravenes Section 34B of the Act.
We agree that any person who disposes toxic waste illegally should be punished severely. This is reasonable.
The Government says that it encourages IKS. If an IKS is found guilty, it will be fined RM 500,000. If its profit is small, it will go bankrupt. Hence, IKS must keep well away from illegal disposal of toxic waste.
The amendment does not deal with the import of toxic waste. This is a weakness.
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and 144 local authorities must train more enforcement personnel with quality. The ministry has 40 of them. This is inadequate. If we have more and better officers who are clean, efficient and trustworthy, the enforcement of the law will be more effective.
Dr Tan Seng Giaw