PETALING JAYA: Those concerned about the environment are invited to participate in a peaceful march to Parliament next Thursday (July 18) to submit a memorandum to all 222 MPs to seek greater protection for Malaysia's rainforests.
Pertubuhan Pelindung Khazanah Alam Malaysia (Peka) president Puan Sri Shariffa Sabrina Syed Akil (pic) said they were organising the "Walk Towards a Better Environment" to submit proposals to amend the Federal Constitution and the Forestry Act 1984 (Act 313).
This, she said, was to effectively protect and conserve forests for future generations.
"The laws protecting the jungles were last amended 26 years ago in 1993, and the punishments meted are mostly a slap on the wrist.
"Laws need to be amended to impose stiffer penalties, such as fines amounting to millions of ringgit, and jail terms of up to 30 years to reflect the authorities' seriousness in tackling issues that pose a threat to public health, security and wellbeing.
"It is high time the obsolete clauses in the laws were amended to tackle rampant deforestation activities where it has adversely affected our water supply," Shariffa Sabrina said.
She said Peka had consulted relevant non-governmental organisations, government agencies and environmental experts before drawing up the proposed amendments to the Federal Constitution and the Forestry Act 1984.
"We have also obtained positive public feedback via our online petition (www.change.org/p/say-no-to-deforestation-in-malaysia).
"We also propose the establishment of State Forestry Expert Council to advise the state authorities and to provide check and balance to ensure decisions made would not adversely affect the environment and undermine sustainability initiatives," she added.
She said the Orang Asli's role in protecting the jungles should also be given due recognition.
"The Orang Asli are the guardians of the jungles. They have been guardians of the jungles for generations," she said.
She said the rally participants would march from Padang Merbok to Parliament at 9.30am on July 18.