Environment

EIA should be replaced by an Environment and Human Right Impact Assessment system

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Ng Yap Hwa

Teoh Beng Hock Trust for Democracy

3j Environment

As the first step, the government should revamp section 34A of the EQA to make HRIA enforceable. The Minister's power to "prescribe any activity" that requires EIA study should be restricted. A transparent and clear criterion for EIA study must be re-formulated with the assistance of environmental experts and experienced foreign policy makers.

More specifically, we propose to amend section 34A of the Environment Quality Act 1974

Section 34A(2)Any person intending to carry out any of the prescribed activities shall, before any approval for the carrying out of such activity is granted by the relevant approving authority, submit a report to the Director General. The report shall be in accordance with the guidelines prescribed by the Director General and shall contain an assessment of the impact such activity will have or is likely to have on the environment and human rights and the proposed measures that shall be undertaken to prevent, reduce or control the adverse impact on the environment and human rights.

The words ‘and human rights’ should also be added to sections 34A(3), 34A(4) and 34A(7).

In addition, we propose to amend section 34A of the Town and Country Planning Act 1976

21A(1A)The State Authority may specify that the development proposal report submitted under subsection (1) in respect of certain categories of development shall include an analysis of the social and human rights implications of the development for the area which is the subject of the application for planning permission.

The principle of HRIA should be implemented at projects at federal, state and municipal levels.

In short, the government must move our environmental policy from a charity-based to rights-based approach. Putting people before profit.

Improper Municipal Solid waste management

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Aisling Usun Bagly

CSO Platform for Reform - Environmental Sector

3j Environment

Awareness
Most Malaysian’s are unaware or prefer to ignore the problems associated with waste in Malaysia. In fact most of us are not vigilant about the amount of waste we produce. The Government needs to conduct awareness for the public in various ways to Go Green and be Zero Waste Friendly. It is important to educate packaging companies, supermarket, restaurants and food vendors to come with programmes to encourage zero waste at the same time.

Waste Management
The government also needs to focus more on a proper waste management system for communities especially in the rural area before investing in other projects. The government needs to show that waste problem is a very serious matter so that the public will be more aware about this problem.

Reduce Deforestation and Increase Connectivity in fragmented Landscapes

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Aisling Usun Bagly

CSO Platform for Reform - Environmental Sector

3j Environment

Forest connectivity
For effective conservation of forest biodiversity, it is vital to maintain and enhance connectivity in fragmented landscapes. This will help ensure the health of the forest and avoid any genetic drifts among flora and fauna species. It is the natural behaviour of wildlife to roam and seek food resources. Providing wildlife larger areas of healthy forest to roam would help minimize human-wildlife conflict at the same time. The government needs to connect forest reserves and National Parks increasing the size of Totally Protected Area (TPA). At the same time, they must acknowledge the rights of local communities who depend on the forest for their livelihoods.

Logging
Deforestation is a key contributor to human-caused climate change. Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) and Social Impact Assessments (SIA) must be properly conducted before any logging activity. These activities should be made available to the public and not kept hidden or private and confidential.

New Urbanization Planning
Another problem we face are the many new construction projects while there are plenty of abandoned developed sites (offices, shop lots and malls). There needs to be proper planning in place to ensure companies use available space instead of developing another forested area for another site which is not needed in the first place. New Urbanism is an urban design movement which promotes environmentally friendly habits by creating walkable neighborhoods containing a wide range of housing and job types.

Review the approval/evaluation process for Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Social Impact Assessment (SIA) reports

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Celine Lim

CSO Platform for Reform - Environmental Sector

3j Environment

It should not be the burden of the people to have to search frantically for a EIA/SIA report that concerns them. The responsible parties (auditors, developers and etc.) must be proactive and open about sharing this important public information.

Publicly accessible information must be easily accessible.

Revision of Sarawak EIA Logging standards

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Zarris

CSO Platform for Reform - Environmental Sector

3j Environment

Federal Government should legislate national laws to regularise the implementations at the state jurisdictions.

The Natural Resources and Environment Ordinance (Cap. 84 - Laws of Sarawak, 1958 Ed.) was last revised in 2004. The ordinance should be amended with a focus on strict and clear EIA logging requirements for Primary and Secondary forests of a reasonable size. In addition, there should be more emphasis on conservation and careful management requirements of its forest resources.
A solution would be for Malaysia to revise its EIA procedures and requirements to follow international standards of logging and forest management. This should be enacted in all states in Malaysia to promote uniform standards of logging and enforcing sustainable practices & better management of the rich rainforest that covers our land.

The Malaysian government must enlist the help of national, regional, and international CSOs to co-develop the revised EIA as a committee, to improve the EIA standards covering ALL states in Malaysia. This committee must investigate solutions to mitigate loopholes and grey areas to avoid issues such as dividing large areas into smaller concessions to not require an EIA, and other weaknesses of the current regulations.