Malaysia: Landowners in Sarawak to be responsible for fires on their land

STEPHEN THEN The Star 9 Aug 16;

MIRI: Landowners will be held wholly accountable for haze and air pollution resulting from fires on their land.

Under a new Standard Operating Procedure (SOP), which was unveiled on Tuesday, the landowners will be compelled to prevent and suppress all fires on their land or face legal consequences.

Four major land developers in Miri came forward to sign the SOP with the Sarawak Natural Resources and Environment Board.

The management of Naim Holdings, Pantai Bayu Indah Sdn Bhd, Shin Yang Forestry Sdn Bhd and Woodman Kuala Baram Sdn Bhd inked the SOP with Sarawak NREB controller Peter Sawal.

Sarawak Resource Planning and Environment Second Minister Datuk Awang Tengah Ali Hassan witnessed the signing.

He said the new rules would apply to landowners throughout the state.

“The responsibility for preventing and suppressing fires must be on the part of the landowners.

“In Miri, earlier this year, the Air Pollutant Index exceeded the 300 mark due to these fires.

“We had to hire aircraft to carry out aerial water bombings and that cost us a lot of money and manpower resources,” he said.

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