KUCHING (March 12): The Department of Environment (DOE) will soon be absorbed into the Natural Resources and Environment Board (NREB), giving Sarawak full authority over environmental matters, said Deputy Minister for Energy and Environmental Sustainability (MEESTY) Dr Hazland Abang Hipni.
He said currently NREB is under the purview of MEESTY that controls all activities related to environment while the DOE is still a department under the federal government.
“Soon DOE will be absorbed into NREB as a result from our negotiations with the federal government based on the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).
“Under the agreement, it was agreed that environmental matters are under the authority of Sarawak,” he said when officiating the State-level Earth Day 2023 celebration held at Kuching South City Council (MBKS) community hall here yesterday.
Dr Hazland said this is an achievement for Sarawak to have full control over anything to do with environment including climate change mitigation, decarbonisation, carbon footprint, and matters related to enforcement (environment).
He said through full control over its own environment, Sarawak can further establish itself as a leading player in the renewable energy field in Malaysia, and the South East Asian region.
Sarawak’s strength lies in renewable energy especially through hydropower, and Sarawak government taking over Bakun in 2017 has been the game changer, he added.
“This is the turning point in our strategy especially in terms of generating green energy for Sarawak, Kalimantan Nusantara and so on.
“Aside from Bakun we already have the Batang Ai dam, Murum dam and soon we are going to have Baleh Dam,” he said.
State DOE director Hamzah Mohamad was also present.