Environment and Water Ministry will not proceed with Cross-Border Pollution Bill

Kuala Lumpur landmarks the Petronas Twin Towers and KL Tower are seen covered in haze in Kuala Lumpur in this file picture taken on August 26, 2015. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Kuala Lumpur landmarks the Petronas Twin Towers and KL Tower are seen covered in haze in Kuala Lumpur in this file picture taken on August 26, 2015. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 25 — The government will not proceed with the proposed drafting of the Cross-Border Pollution Bill after examining the appropriateness of the bill, according to the Ministry of Environment and Water (Kasa).

The ministry said the study covers the feasibility to implement the law, diplomatic relations and elements of environmental pollution prevention.

“The matter takes into account the feedback from legal experts that legal action can only be taken against Malaysian-owned or related companies operating abroad if clear proof and evidence are obtained from the country as the cause of cross-border haze.

“The issue of cross-border haze cannot be resolved only by formulating acts or laws. The government also does not want the act as mere cosmetics without any capacity to take legal action against the offenders who cause haze,” the ministry said.

Kasa said this in a written answer to a question by Yeo Bee Yin (PH-Bakri) on whether the government would table the cross-border pollution act.

“The government believes a better way is to work with the neighbouring country and all Asean member countries to address the problem collectively.

In this regard, Kasa will implement a ‘top down’ and ‘bottom up approach’ through close diplomatic relations and technical cooperation to further strengthen the technical capabilities between countries, especially in the field of research, technology related to peat management and firefighting operations,” the ministry said.

The ministry explained that the matter was in line with Article 16 on Technical Cooperation and Article 17 on Scientific Studies of the Asean Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution, which among others emphasised the sharing of technological, technical and knowledge expertise.

In addition, the approach can strengthen diplomatic relations between Malaysia and Asean member countries, especially Indonesia in addressing the issue of cross-border haze so that it can be prevented, controlled and handled well.

The government will also review and improve communications on cross-border haze incidents to ensure accurate, effective information flow and avoid disputes which could cloud Malaysia’s diplomatic relations with its neighbouring countries. — Bernama

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