Saturday, November 10, 2012

Malaysia established Green Court to handle environmental cases

Read the title and one thing comes to mind:  Our very own polluted rivers in the Palm Oil heavily planted east of Sabah.

If you've been following the coverage on Daily Express the last couple of month or so, you will remember that palm oil factories are the biggest culprits in polluting the river. Is it a crime to, say, pollute the river? Or is it an offence to cut down the Trig Hill in Tawau to dig out stones to develop the area? I don't know. But we have the environmental enforcement agencies and we have the relevant acts.

I feel that we have enough enactment and we have enough officers to do the job. If that is the case, the more critical innovation in Environmental Law enforcement is not more money and personnel but a committed court!

Thailand and Indonesia have such courts so why can't we. The establishment of Green Court will show our commitment towards protecting the environment and wildlife. According to the Chief Justice, the courts would address cases, such as:

  • wildlife crime
  • pollution
  • illegal logging and fishing, and 
  • land clearing
So, there. We are well covered. It is up to us to implement the necessary.

Let the green stays green. Let the tree grows!
Virgin jungle in Pulau Tiga, Sabah. Shot with Nikkor 10-24mm at | 10mm | f/5 | 1/200sec | ISO-320 |

Read the Article: Malaysia Established Green Court Since September 3
Bernama, Nov 9, 2012

KUALA LUMPUR: The Green Court dedicated to hear cases related to the environment has been established since September 3, said Chief Justice Tun Ariffin Zakaria.

"The judiciary is actively training judges and magistrates in handling cases related to the environment in order to prepare them in terms of proceedings and meting out penalties. Judges and magistrates who handle environmental cases will also handle other cases but their specialty is cases involving the environment," he told reporters after launching "2012 National Seminar on Green Court" here today.

Ariffin said Thailand and Indonesia established such court earlier but it was still not too late for Malaysia to protect the environment. Enforcement of the Environmental Quality Act (Amendment) 2012 next year means that no one, including multinational companies, would escape the law. Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Douglas Uggah Embas had said the Act gazetted on Aug 16 and effective on Jan 2 would address environmental issues.

Opening the seminar, Ariffin said that the Act has given the director-general of the Department of Environment additional power.

"This amendment paves the way for more effective enforcement. For example, a new section, 34AA is inserted, giving power to the director-general of the Department of Environment to arrest or issue stop work order to persons carrying out activities which may cause environmental damage."

He said under the Act, any non-compliance to the stop work order would be punished with a fine up to RM500,000 or with imprisonment up to five years or both.

"The power to arrest which was within the purview of police, will be extended to officer of the Department of Environment, who will have the power to arrest without warrant any person believed to commit or attempt to commit any offence under the Act.

"Most interestingly, investigation and enforcement which was usually hindered due to lack of information have been improved by the new section 49B where the informer, whose information or service or assistance lead to detection of any offence under the Act, will be rewarded and his identity will be protected and privileged under the new section 50A."

Ariffin also said that 76 Sessions Courts and Magistrates Courts have been established throughout the country. - Bernama

1 comment:

rainfield61 said...

Yes, Let the green stays green. Let the tree grows!

They have their right.