Stern action will be taken to control open burning during El Nino, says Nik Nazmi

  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 07 Jun 2023

KUALA LUMPUR: Stern action, including the issuance of compound notices, will be taken to control open burning during the El Nino period, says Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad.

The Natural Resources, Environment and Climate Change Minister said continuous monitoring will be conducted by the relevant authorities to ensure that there are no untoward incidents.

"In terms of enforcement actions, between Jan 1 and June 6, 2023, a total of 73 notice orders and 48 compounds were issued by the Environment Department (DOE).

"DOE has also conducted 1,427 follow-up monitoring activities related to open burning," he said in response to questions raised on his ministry's statement on the situation of extreme heat phenomenon in the Dewan Rakyat Wednesday (June 7).

Nik Nazmi added that the situation of open burning across the country was currently under control.

"From the beginning of this year until May 25, 2023, more than 1,800 complaints of open burning have been received by the DOE, with 80% of the cases involving the burning of waste.

"However, there have been five major cases of open burning in Peninsular Malaysia that have resulted in the local haze, including three cases of peatland burning and two cases of burning at landfill sites," he revealed.

On a separate matter, he said that the Transboundary Haze Act will be reviewed by the unity government thoroughly before it can be reintroduced.

He also said that at the ministry level, he would look back at the proposed legislation first.

"I believe that the previous draft reached an advanced state during YB's time.

"So we will go through it again.

"There are several challenges to implementing the matter but we will review it thoroughly," he said.

Nik Nazmi said that the ministry also received reports from the Malaysian companies operating in Indonesia regarding cooperation at the province level to curb open burning.

"We also discussed with Bursa Malaysia if we can get the reporting from the listed companies under our purview, to ensure transparency on what they are currently doing over there," added Nik Nazmi.

Earlier during the debates, Yeo Bee Yin (PH-Puchong) said the Transboundary Haze Act should be legislated as it will allow the government to take action against Malaysian companies and individuals behind open burning regardless of where they are located.

She said Singapore had passed a similar Act in 2014.

“After the 2019 haze, when I was the Environment Minister, the government had ordered the Academy of Sciences Malaysia to conduct a study on the need for a legal framework on transboundary pollution and to advise the government whether this Act is effective,” she said.

She added the Pakatan Harapan Cabinet had discussed the research findings and agreed to table the Act in February 2020, days before the Sheraton Move took place and the government was toppled.

As the succeeding government did not proceed with the Act, Yeo asked if the current government will revive the effort to table the Act.

Meanwhile, Nik Nazmi also revealed that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim will lead the Malaysian delegation to attend the 2023 UN Climate Change Conference, which will convene from Nov 30 to Dec 12 2023 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE).

"I received the report that after much convincing, he had agreed to lead the Malaysian delegation in Dubai," said Nik Nazmi.

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