STERN action, including the issuance of compounds, will be taken to control open burning during the El Nino season, says Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad.
The Natural Resources, Environment, and Climate Change Minister said 73 notice orders and 48 compounds were issued by the Department of Environment (DOE) between Jan 1 and June 6 this year.
“The DOE had 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 extreme heat phenomenon.
As of May 25, he said, more than 1,800 complaints of open burning had been received by the DOE, with 80% of the cases involving burning of waste.
“However, there have been five major cases of open burning in the peninsula that resulted in local haze, comprising three cases of peatland burning and two cases of burning at landfill sites.”
On a separate matter, Nik Nazmi said the Transboundary Haze Act would be reviewed by the government thoroughly before it is reintroduced.
“There are several challenges in implementing it, but we will review it thoroughly,” he said.
He said his ministry had received reports from Malaysian companies operating in Indonesia regarding cooperation at the provincial level to curb open burning.
“We also held discussions with Bursa Malaysia on whether we could get reports from listed companies under our purview, to ensure transparency on what they are currently doing over there,” he added.
Earlier during debates, Yeo Bee Yin (PH-Puchong) said the Transboundary Haze Act should be passed as it would 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 law in 2014.
“After the 2019 haze, when I was 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 that the Pakatan Harapan-led 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 dissolved.
As the succeeding government did not proceed with the Act, Yeo asked if the current government would revive the effort to table the Act.
Meanwhile, Nik Nazmi also said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim will lead the Malaysian delegation to the 2023 UN Climate Change Conference to be held from Nov 30 to Dec 12 in Dubai.