KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 19 — The Environmental Quality Act (EQA) empowers the federal government to investigate the Malaysian firms whose subsidiaries were accused of open burning in Indonesia, Klang MP Charles Santiago said today.
He said the government did not need to enact new laws to address the matter, saying Attorney General Tommy Thomas could issue certificates under Section 22 of the Criminal Justice Act to give the EQA extraterritorial jurisdiction.
“Indonesia has flagged four Malaysian company for indulging in slash and burn activities.
“As such, extraterritorial provisions under the Environmental Quality Act would enable the government to swiftly investigate and act on all four Malaysian companies operating in Indonesia, if found guilty of contributing to the thick smog blanketing our skyline,” Santiago said in a statement.
“And the government should also use the same Act to go after small holders and big companies operating in the Peninsula and East Malaysia as hotspots show raging fires in Johor, Pahang, Terengganu and Sarawak.”
Yesterday, Dr Mahathir said the government may legislate new laws to hold Malaysian firms operating outside the country responsible for contributing to the haze.
He said action must be taken against Malaysian companies whose plantations outside Malaysia are allegedly contributing towards the haze due to the burning on their estates.