New Environmental Quality Act in the works

KUANTAN, Nov 9 ― The Environmental Quality Act 1974 will be abolished and replaced with a new act, said Director-General of the Department of Environment (DOE) Datuk Dr Ahmad Kamarulnajuib Che Ibrahim. 

A new act, he said had to be formulated in line with current changes as the present one had been in use for more than 40 years while problems relating to the environment were now more challenging.

“The problems relating to the environment is becoming more complex...there are many other issues which arise in our country from technological and economic developments. The present act is not sufficient to tackle current issues.

“We have to be prepared to curb the problem of environmental pollution with new laws which are more comprehensive,” he told reporters after launching the national-level Oil Spill Control Table-Top Training session here today.

Ahmad Kamarulnajuib added that the draft for the amendment had been sent to the Attorney-General’s Chambers for review.

Meanwhile, in his speech, Ahmad Kamarulnajuib said 149 complaints of oil pollution in Malaysian waters were reported from 2009 until October this year.

He said pollution resulting from oil spills were difficult to foresee and needed the cooperation of various agencies such as the Malaysian Marine Department and the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) to undertake immediate cleaning efforts.

”Failure to act fast and in a coordinated manner will cause huge damage to the ecosystem and marine environment and result in cleaning efforts which cost more,” he said.

Ahmad Kamarulnajuib added that marine oil spills were not only caused by ships but could also occur in areas which handle oil and chemical products as well as in ports.

As such, he said, it was a major necessity for these areas to have a Tier One Contingency Plan and be equipped with critical equipment and response team in the event of an oil spill situation. ― Bernama