Thursday, May 22, 2008


Govt to ensure environment adequately protected: Masidi


The State Government is fully committed in ensuring the environment is adequately protected and conserved to support sustainable development for the benefit of the present and future generations. Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment Datuk Masidi Manjun said that because of the commitment, the Government has passed several environmental legislations to address pertinent aspects of the environment. “Sustaining the environment means instituting measures in order, for instance to mitigate the degradation of rivers, streams and marine waters as well as protect ecologically sensitivities areas,” Masidi said in a speech at a dialogue on Environment, Safety and Health (ESH) here yesterday. The speech was delivered by Assistant Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment, Datuk ElIron Alfred Angin. “Greater care need to be exercised especially in the utilisation of our land and natural resources. This is to ensure that the rate of natural resource consumption and the rate of waste generation do not exceed the capacity of the environment to replenish the waste produced,” he pointed out. According to him, the rapid growth of the various industries has increased the need for greater attention to occupational safety and health. “The Occupational Safety and Health Act 1994 enforced by the Department of Occupational Safety and Health provides the legislative framework to promote, stimulate and encourage a high standard of safety and health at work place. “Although, we have so far been spared any major catastrophic accidents, we must always be aware of the potential danger of such accidents in the industries,” he said. “Our aim should be to achieve zero accidents and thus save valuable lives and property and be spared of any painful tragedies,” he added. Masidi said the dialogue organised by Chemsain Konsultant Sdn Bhd. was very timely. This is not only to enhance communication between Government authorities and industries in the management of environment, safety and health but it is also important in view of serious emerging environmental issues and challenges such as climate change and global warming that are threatening the environment and the quality of life, he said. Dr John Chan, Director of Chemsain Konsultan Sdn Bhd, said the purpose of the dialogue was to update participants on the latest regulations in ESH and also to give an opportunity for them to meet with authorities involved in ESH. “We should be thankful that people back then realised that if we did not take environment, occupational health and safety seriously, our future generations will suffer the negative consequence of development,” he said. “Environmental management in Malaysia started with the enactment of the Environmental Quality Act, 1974 while the first laws governing Occupational Safety and Health were introduced in the Factory and Machinery Act 1967. However, despite the existence of these law, we often read in the papers or watch on TV, environment disasters happening right at our doorsteps,” he added. According to him, some factories are still discharging dirty water into rivers, emitting polluting gases into the air, wastes are still dumped unscrupulously, accidents and work related health problems are still common. “In fact, we cannot blame lawmakers, Environment Protection Department, Department of Environment and Department of Occupational Safety and Health parties independently. ESH management is the responsibility of all parties,” he said. He said both the project implementers and authorities should have a good working relationship. “It means that project implementers must understand the requirement of the law and how to protect the environment. While the authorities must understand the problem faced by the project implementers such as cost, time line and the availability of technology to mitigate environmental impact. Also present during the program were Datuk Erick Juin, Director of Environment Protection Department, and Abdul Razak Abdul Manap, Director of Environment Department.