Monday October 22, 2012
More bite for pro-green law
By NICHOLAS CHENG
KUALA LUMPUR: Heavier penalties will be slapped on unregulated development project operators under amendments to a pro-green law.
Fines will be raised from RM100,000 to RM500,000 under the amended Environmental Quality Act against project proprietors who have not been given the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) approval or are caught violating the conditions.
Authorities will also now have the power to shut down these projects.
Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Douglas Uggah Embas said the amendments, which would be enforced on Jan 2 next year, would enhance the EIA procedure effectiveness and its enforcement.
“The heavier penalties under Section 34(A) will serve as a deterrent against companies that were unfazed by the low penalties before,” he said after launching National Environmental Week yesterday.
The amended Act also grants the Department of Environment (DOE) authority to issue ban or stop-work orders on projects that are not EIA approved or violate the EIA approval conditions.
Moreover, DOE enforcement agents will now be authorised to arrest suspected project operators on site and delivered them to the police.
DOE director-general Halimah Hassan said stricter enforcement would keep a tighter lid on development projects so as to not harm the environment.
She said that 19 prescribed activities nationwide would be subjected to EIA.
There will also be incentives for informers who provide tip-offs on unapproved activities prescribed under Section 49 (B) of the Act.
It also guarantees protection of identity of such informers.