Published: Sunday October 21, 2012 MYT 3:00:00 PM
Updated: Sunday October 21, 2012 MYT 3:10:31 PM
Shutdown for future development projects that don’t meet EIA standards
By NICHOLAS CHENG
KUALA LUMPUR: Development projects that heavily pollute or that are not assessed for environmental impact can now be shut down by authorities, after amendments to the Environmental Quality Act 1974.
Natural Resource and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Douglas Uggah Embas said that the amendments, which will be enforced on Jan 2, 2013, would make it compulsory for prescribed activities to have an environmental impact assessment (EIA) done before being approved.
The prescribed activities cover large area development projects including agriculture, forestry, industrialisation, drainage and irrigation, mining and power generation.
He said the amendments were to enhance the effectiveness of EIA to ensure that proposed projects were in line with guidelines set by authorities.
"The newly amended Section 34(A) of the Act will increase the fine for prescribed activities with no EIA approval from RM100,000 to RM500,000.
"This will serve as a deterrent to development companies that were undeterred by the low penalties set before," Douglas said.
The amended Act also grants the Department of Environment (DOE) the authority to issue a ban or stop-work order on projects that were not EIA-approved or violated their EIA approval conditions.
Moreover, DOE enforcement agents will now be authorised to arrest suspected project operators on site, to be delivered to police.