Transboundary Haze Act must be effective and not just symbolic, says Nik Nazmi

PUTRAJAYA: Options remain open for Malaysia to have legislation in place to deal with transboundary haze but the law must help in tackling the issue, says Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad.

The Natural Resources and Environmental Sustainability Minister said it was important for Malaysia to have “meaningful legislation” to deal with transboundary haze and an in-depth one was needed.

ALSO READ: Committee to be formed to study transboundary haze issues, says Environment Ministry

“All options are open but we must not do it (have the law) just symbolically. It has to be effective,” he told reporters on Thursday (Dec 21) after a town hall session with stakeholders on transboundary haze.

In November, Nik Nazmi was reported to have said that the government had decided not to table the proposed Transboundary Haze Act which aimed to take action against Malaysian companies or individuals that cause haze in the country, regardless of where the burning occurred.

ALSO READ: Haze: DOE to increase enforcement in potential open burning areas

He said the decision was made after taking into account feedback given by the Attorney General’s Chambers (AGC) and legal experts’ views on difficulties in prosecution.

Yeo Bee Yin, his predecessor from the 2018-2020 Pakatan Harapan administration, had called on the government to consider introducing the Act to hold Malaysian companies or individuals accountable for causing haze from open burning.

ALSO READ: Govt will not defend Malaysian companies contributing to the haze

Nik Nazmi said the town hall was among initiatives to get input and views from stakeholders on matters concerning transboundary haze.

“We will collect the views and present it to the Parliamentary Special Select Committee on Environment as well as to the Cabinet to see how (the) ideas can be taken forward,” he added.

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