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Question 3 : How would you address/immediate the problems if you are an

appointed federal officer and why?


From my understanding of the article, there has been a confusing matter on
who should have more authorities on environmental issues. Although it is agreed that
the federal matter should be responsible, the state and local government must play
their part too in helping the federal enforcing its environmental laws and monitor any
violations.
Should there be any violations on the environmental laws, the state and local
governments are supposedly to be the first responders to the scene, as the scene is
much closer and under their own territory.

However nowadays state and local

governments are not acting fast enough that some environmental issues especially
those faced by the local people, has gone viral through Internet and television,
attracting the whole nation and subsequently the federal government received the
blame from the public and was forced to intervene on the issue. What could be settle
locally and immediately became a public embarrassment , and in order for this to not
happen, the state and local government must pay more attention on activities that
will affect the environment, such as logging, land development on water catchment
areas and open burning on paddy fields, that frequently happen in their own yard. As
an example, if it wasnt for the satellite images of Tasik Kenyir taken in 1996 and
1998, probably nobody will realized that Tasik Kenyir is on the brink of losing its
unique eco-system and the damages can be irreparable. In 1996, there was an
outcry in the newspaper about logging activities that resulting in environmental
degradation at Lojing Highlands in Kelantan. The Department of Environment
identified 55 development projects, involving a total area of 135,000 hectares, which
were going on the area. Fourteen of these projects required EIA reports, but only
some of the developers submitted theirs. This were few of the cases where the local
authorities hasnt been paying enough attention to the matters that happen in the
own territory. Most of the cases can be averted, and need to be nip from the bud
before it destroys the natural habit and ecosystem, or worse strike a tragedy that
could cause fatalities. Take for example the case of mud flood in Cameron Highland
last year. The mud floods had been largely attributed to illegal land clearing by
foreign illegal immigrants who were involved in the rapidly expanding agricultural
industry there. There is a claimed of corruption involving the illegal land clearing,

since the said illegal land clearing has been going on for years and they seem to be
unstoppable until such tragedy happen, twice in 2 consecutive years. There is no
doubt that the public has started to question the integrity of the local government, on
how they have failed in containing the illegal activities at a popular tourist destination.
The state and local government should play their roles actively in preventing
such tragedies to happen again. In Malaysia, Section 34A, Environmental Quality
Act, 1974[42] requires developments that have significant impact to the environment
are required to conduct the Environmental impact assessment. This Act shall come
into force on such date as the Minister may appoint by a notification in the Gazette
and the Minister may appoint different dates for the coming into force of different
provisions of this Act and may bring all or any provisions thereof into force either in
the whole of Malaysia to which the notification applies or such area as may be
specified in the notification. Formally, any EIA report received by the state and local
government must be reviewed properly, and not to be treated just as accompanying
documents. And the review on paper should match the condition on the site, which
means, local and state government are required to send their personnel on a
surprise site visit, as regular as they could. This is to ensure that the land developers
and industrialist wont neglect their responsibilities in maintaining the natural habit of
their surroundings. A follow-up in the form of audit must be done in order to evaluate
the accuracy of the EIA by comparing actual to predicted impacts. Another method
that can be considered to combat illegal land clearing and deforestation is by using
the satellite technology, or any air surveillance technology, such as the use of
airplane, helicopter or drone. And the state and local government should have a
good rapport with the orang asli and natives that live in or around the forest areas,
any report that comes from them should not be taken lightly. The most important
aspect in these suggestions is, to nip the problem right from the bud. Theres no
denying, that in any development, there must be an impact on the environment,
however we can ensure the impact is as minimal it can get.
Malaysia is a developing country which has been experiencing massive
economic growth for over three decades. However, this growth has caused a
significant impact on the natural environment. During the 1970s, environmental
problems arose in the wake of the development of Malaysias land and natural
resources, and through issues such as the discharge of undesirable waste products

or effluents into the environment. As regards land and natural resource development,
major activities that affected the environment during that time were mining, new
agricultural settlement, replanting of existing agricultural lands, logging, urban and
general infrastructure development.Over the years, the country continued to face
various issues relating to environmental pollution and natural resources degradation.
At present, Malaysias main environmental pollution problems include
Most local governments have difficulties generating revenue to cover
operating expenses, let alone to make new investments to extend services and
facilities. To become effective agents of development, local governments and
municipalities need enhanced political, institutional and financial capacities, notably
access to more of the wealth generated in the urban areas. While the role of
legislation and institutions in the administration of policies and programmes
regarding the urban environment is recognized, public support is equally essential in
ensuring the success of such programmes. Public support, however, can only be
expected from well-informed citizens who are aware (of the problem), committed and
willing to do something about it. This means that at both the federal and local levels,
ways to educate the public and disseminate environmental information need to be
expanded. Since environmental education is basically aimed towards community
action, efforts to reach the different target groups must be varied, involving both
government institutions and a wide range of non-governmental organizations,
including private and commercial enterprises and the mass media.
The countries of South-East Asia can also do a great deal together to develop
policy concepts, programmes and the necessary institutions to tackle the urban
problems they share. As each country within the region devises broad national urban
strategies, it is important that they share experiences on the management of their
growing cities, the development of small and intermediate centres, strengthening of
local governments, upgrading illegal settlements, crisis-response measures and on a
range of other problems that are generally unique to the Third World. It is in this
regard that a co-ordinated, systematic study of the major cities of South-East Asia
could be useful. Information from such research could also provide a basis for
rethinking the future of these cities.

The initial project of the UEWG was on the urban ecosystem studies of Kuala
Lumpur and the Klang Valley urban region. The long-term aim was to extend similar
studies to 'intermediate size urban areas' as it is believed that these would be the
focus of future development and population concentration. The major publication of
the UEWC) is the Tropical Urban Ecosystem Studies series. As of 1992, eight
volumes have been produced on various aspects of the Klang Valley urban region
and other tropical, urban issues. Work is now under way in two intermediate size
urban areas, Seremban and Johore Bahru. The main objectives of the study are to
document urban activities in these two centres, assess the way in which such
activities have affected the biophysical environment, and recommend forward
planning and mitigating measures to improve the quality of the urban environment. In
order to ensure that ideas and recommendations on issues discussed in the
publication series reach the planners, policy makers and environmental managers,
the reports are disseminated to key government departments free of charge. Indeed,
some recommendations-especially those on the heat island, the tree-planting
programmes, environmental education and urban atmospheric pollution-have been
well received and are being incorporated into the overall plan when appropriate (see,
for example, the environment chapter in the Perlis Master Plan 1987: the Klang
Valley Environmental Improvement Project 1987).
Over the years, attempts were made to reconcile the needs of development
and environmental protection. However, it was not until the Third Malaysia Plan
(1976-1980) did Malaysias environmental commitment materialize through the
inclusion of a chapter on environment under the Plan. Subsequent Malaysia Plans
and the National Policy on the Environment of Malaysia have been built-up on these
environmental commitments applying sustainable development as their guiding
principle.