KUCHING: The state government is reviewing environmental laws and policy before using more effective enforcement to address environmental concerns.
Assistant Community Service Minister Datuk Peter Nansian described environmental problems as the ‘silent killer’ of life.
“If actions are not taken to address the problem, it would cause air, water and land pollution that would affect the livelihood of people and threaten the survival of flora and fauna,” he said yesterday.
“The chief minister (Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem) is serious on environmental issues, having acted sternly on illegal logging as well as gazetting natural reserves and parks,” he added.
Nansian, who was representing the chief minister, pointed out that fines and compounds were no longer effective in curbing environmental violations.
“The government recognised the need for policymakers, enforcement agencies and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to work with the legal judiciary for effective enforcement, and to prevent future violations,” he said.
He emphasised the needs for good policy, effective enforcement and good legal framework to punish environmental offenders.
Nansian was speaking at a press conference after opening a workshop on ‘Environmental Protection In Sarawak – The Way Forward’ in the Malaysia Tax Academy Kuching at Jalan Tabuan here yesterday.
This first of a few series of workshops planned was organised by the High Court of Sabah and Sarawak to create awareness among court judges, judicial officers and enforcement agencies on how to handle environmental issues.
The High Court of Sabah and Sarawak took the lead to deal with environmental issues together with Natural Resources and Environment Board (NREB) Sarawak and World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Malaysia.
Nansian urged government agencies to cooperate to initiate environmental protection and conservation through recycling and composting.
“Protecting the environment is everyone’s responsibility. If each of us play our role, we can reduce waste at the dumpsite and cut expenses for the councils,” he said.
“We must act before the situation goes out of control and leads to self-destruction. We all know that pollution is man-made. If we want to see our homeland healthy and beautiful, then we shouldn’t destroy it with our own hands and through our actions.”
“The chief minister is coming down hard on the fishing industry now,” he pointed out.
“We are proud of the High Court’s efforts in organising this workshop and we hope together we can translate our efforts into actions for the good of our environment,” he added.
Nansian hopes workshop participants could come up with initiatives to protect the environment.
Also present were Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Tan Sri Panglima Richard Malajum, NREB Environmental Quality Sarawak controller Peter Sawal and WWF Malaysia Sarawak Programme leader Dr Jason Hon.