SEVERAL backbenchers voiced their concerns over the use of pesticides as they could be harmful to the environment, farmers and consumers.
In debating amendments to the Pesticides Act 1974, Razali Ismail (Barisan Nasional – Kuala Terengganu) said the authorities should study the effects of pesticide use, particularly whether the substances had contaminated the rivers which were a source of drinking water.
“According to studies in Kelantan, nitrates were found to have contaminated about 15% of well water as a result of the use of pesticides at tobacco plantations,” he said.
Razali said it was also found that moths, which posed a threat to crops in Cameron Highlands, were more resistant to the pesticides used by farmers.
“This meant farmers had to use a stronger pesticide to tackle the threat and this could be detrimental to the environment,” he said, adding that organic fertilisers should be introduced instead.
Ismail Sabri Yaakob (Barisan – Bera) said there should be stricter enforcement to stem the smuggling of unregistered pesticides as its haphazard use was detrimental to farmers and consumers.
“Farmers continue to be attracted to smuggled pesticides because their price is lower.
“The authorities have to put a stop to the uncontrolled use of pesticides,” he said.
Agriculture and Agro-based Industries Deputy Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shariff Omar tabled the amendments which sought greater control over the research and experiment of unregistered pesticides, an increase in penalties and stricter control on labelling.
The House passed a bill to validate some RM5mil in entrance fees collected at marine parks nationwide from 1999 until last July.
Mohd Shariff said the bill, Fees (Marine Parks Malaysia) (Validation) Act 2004, was passed to validate the fee collection which was imposed in 1999 after the Government stopped providing allocations to maintain the marine parks.