Malaysia: Significant changes planned for 'green' laws

PATRICK LEE The Star 29 Feb 16;

KUALA LUMPUR: Significant changes to Malaysia's green laws may be presented in Parliament this year, with an aim to better protect the country's flora and fauna.

"What I'm looking at is for all these laws to be realised within 2016," Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar told reporters here.

He said this after meeting with Forestry Department officials at their headquarters, where suggestions to amend green laws were raised there and then.

Some of these changes may include making loggers to help replant forests they've cut, and giving forest rangers jurisdiction over animal traps, which wildlife officers naturally focus on.

Junaidi said these changes were being thought of in light of a 50% forest cover pledge that has Malaysia has made in previous years, including at the COP21 United Nations Climate Change Conference in 2015.

He added that land and forest use – an area controlled by states and not the Federal Government – could make it difficult for Malaysia to keep this pledge.

Future laws may make it a must for loggers to replant trees
PATRICK LEE The Star 1 Mar 16;

KUALA LUMPUR: Green laws in the near future may make it compulsory for loggers to replant trees immediately, to replace those they have cut down.

The idea was among others mooted as part of an international pledge to make sure that a 50% forest cover is kept.

“Whoever clears the forests has to replace (replant) the forests. Immediately,” Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar told reporters here yesterday.

“If one state wants to do a mini-hydro (project) and it inundates or destroys 3,000 hectares of forest ... we want that to be replaced with 3,000 hectares (somewhere else),” he added.

Dr Wan Junaidi was speaking after meeting Forestry Department officials, and suggested ideas that might be drafted into environment laws. He said Malaysia had earlier pledged 50% forest cover at arenas such as the COP21 United Nation climate change conference.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement once signed, he added, also requires the country to keep its biodiversity intact.

The ideas included giving the department the responsibility to check up on poachers’ animal traps, which wildlife officials look for.

He also hoped they would be presented before Parliament this year, said Dr Wan Junaidi, adding it was not enough for them to be official policy alone.

“If we (have) no force of law behind it, it is very difficult for KP (forestry director-general) to enforce,” he said.

He, however, said his ministry had “a lot of” laws to go through, adding that it might be more than what the Dewan Rakyat could handle this year.

In a related matter, he said the ministry was also looking at missing drones to scout for possible poachers and other forest-related theft in every state.

A press release handed out after the event showed that RM140,000 has been allocated for this purpose, with the drones to be used this year.

On the Sarawak floods, he said the ministry was studying ways on handling the rising waters there.

An early proposal he said, involved a 6km river-wide channel that would cut through two main roads, take five years to build and cost RM1.6bil.

When asked about The Star report on illegal wildlife sales over social media, Dr Wan Junaidi said it was not “rampant” or that big a problem.

He, however, implied that the law was not really deterring people from selling wild animals, and the Government might have to look at the law again.