KUCHING, Dec 5 — Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Openg has thanked the federal government and Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad for agreeing to give the state government authority over its environment.
He said the authority was given at the meeting of the Special Cabinet Committee for the Review of the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) that the prime minister chaired last month.
“As a result of that agreement, we amended the Natural Resources and Environmental Board Ordinance 1993 at last month’s sitting of the Sarawak State Legislative Assembly,” he said during the 25th anniversary of the Natural Resources and Environmental Board (NREB) last night.
“With the amendments to the NREB Ordinance, we have the power to monitor and to make sure that our environment is well-planned and the processes are well implemented,” he said.
He said under the Federal Constitution, the state has the residual power to monitor and develop its environment.
“This is where NREB was formed in 1994 after the enactment of NREB Ordinance in 1993,” Abang Johari, who is also NREB chairman, said.
“Since then, NREB has played a significant role to make sure that while we develop, we also have a very good eco-system as far as the environment is concerned,” he added.
The chief minister stressed the state government has to balance development with conservation, adding that this is to make sure the environment is not much affected.
Abang Johari said after the Rio de Janeiro Earth Summit in 1992, the environment is still a major international issue.
He said Sarawak will have to play its part in contributing to a clean environment and sustainable development.
He said the state needed to create awareness through educational promotion among the young and older generations, adding that they have a responsibility to make sure that future generations inherit a clean environment.
He added corporate bodies have an important role to play in creating a clean environment from the way they develop industries.
“That is why the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report on the industries is very important and fundamental to the development of the state,” he said.