A healthy environment is fundamental to the wellbeing of a country and her people, and environmental justice is key to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. Corruption and poor governance are major threats to the environment as they enable environmental crime through corruption risks present in licensing systems, monitoring and enforcement, and import/export border controls, among others.
Illegal activities that harm the environment include pollution crimes, unlicenced logging and mining, wildlife trafficking, illegal unreported and unregulated fishing, and uncontrolled production and trade in ozone-depleting substances.
The Environmental Quality Act 1974 is the primary federal law to control pollution and protect the environment, but the complex landscape of environmental legislation in Malaysia also includes the Solid Waste and Public Cleansing Management Act 2007, International Trade of Endangered Species Act 2008, Wildlife Conservation Act 2010, National Forestry Act 1984, National Parks Act 1980, Fisheries Act 1985, Water Services Industry Act, as well as various state and local government laws including the Environment Protection Enactment 2002 and Forest Enactment 1968 in Sabah, and the Forests Ordinance 2015 and National Resources and Environment (Amendment) Ordinance 2001 in Sarawak.
Time is ripe for Malaysia to reform environmental laws, which should incorporate climate change mitigation and adaptation, emerging toxics and pollutants, more stringent standards, higher penalties, and clearer definitions and jurisdictions. The laws should also integrate general principles of international environmental law such as the “prevention principle” and the “precautionary principle”, and switch focus from pollution control towards ecological conservation and sustainable development.
Importantly, good environmental governance relies on participatory decision-making processes, effective and accountable institutions, transparent policies and data-sharing, strong whistleblower protection, and well-enforced laws and standards. Fighting climate change demands a fight against corruption.
Sept 5, 2022 The law on climate change law which will streamline the country’s mitigation efforts is expected to be tabled in Dewan Rakyat early next year. Environment and Water Minister Datuk Seri Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man said the ministry was in the midst of finalising the draft bill of the law, which is expected […]
Sept 2, 2022 Menteri di Jabatan Perdana Menteri (Parlimen dan Undang-Undang), Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar berkata akta alam sekitar di negara ini ketinggalan zaman. Katanya, ia memandangkan penggubalan dibuat selepas pasca kemerdekaan sekaligus menyebabkan isu pencerobohan hutan gagal ditangani dengan sebaiknya. Beliau berkata ia perlu dipinda bukan saja kerana tidak seiring dengan perkembangan semasa malah […]
Sept 2, 2022 Malaysia’s environmental laws need to be amended as they are not in line with current developments while penalties under the relevant Acts are too low, says law minister Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar. He said the outdated legislation contributed to the failure to handle illegal logging. The laws include the Environmental Quality Act […]
July 24, 2022 Fifty-three civil society organisations have come together to issue a statement initiated by BEACCH (Biodiversity, Environment, Agroecology, Climate Change and Habitat), the environmental cluster of the CSO Platform for Reform in Malaysia, urging Selangor Menteri Besar Amirudin Shari to immediately revoke the de-gazetting of the Bukit Cherakah forest reserve based on a […]
Aug 02, 2022 The government has set a series of credible commitments towards attaining environmental, social and governance (ESG) goals. Over the next three years, the government aims to deliver on renewable energy (RE) capacity of 31%, and 40% by 2035 in line with the Malaysia Renewable Energy Roadmap. By 2030, the government has also […]
July 18, 2022 Amendments to the National Forestry Act meant to protect forests better may end up endangering the Central Forest Spine (CFS) and biodiversity in other affected forests, warned a lawmaker. Yeo Bee Yin (Pakatan Harapan-Bakri) said this is as a clause asking states to replace excised permanent forest reserves (PFRs) could be used […]
July 18, 2022 The Dewan Rakyat has unanimously passed amendments to better protect forests in the country, through a voice vote today. The amendments to the National Forestry Act, among others, make it harder to excise permanent forest reserves (PFR). Under the amended law, state authorities must conduct a public inquiry first. States are also […]
July 11, 2022 The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has taken the first steps to determine if there was any alleged corruption in a Musang King durian farm project along the slopes of Gunung Inas in Baling, Kedah. According to a report by Sinar Harian, Kedah MACC director Datuk Shaharom Nizam Abd Manap said that thus far, […]
July 5, 2022 Over four hundred hectares in the Bukit Cerakah Forest Reserve has been degazetted to make way for development. Selangor-based ecologist Dr Teckwyn Lim said a notification on the matter was issued on Lawnet Malaysia’s website on May 5 this year. In Selangor’s National Forestry Act (Adoption) Enactment 1985 on Excision of Land […]
July 1, 2022 The proposed amendment to the Environmental Quality Act 1974 (Act 127) to increase the fine on environmental criminals to RM10 million, is currently in the final stage, said Environment and Water Ministry (Kasa) secretary-general Datuk Seri Dr Zaini Ujang. “Everything is ready, the process is in the final stage now. Kasa is […]