KUALA LUMPUR: The Dewan Negara today passed the Environmental Quality (Amendment) Bill 2023 and the Licensed Land Surveyors (Amendment) Bill 2024.

The Bill to amend the Environmental Quality Act 1974 (Act 127) was approved by more than 17 votes in favour after 17 Senators took part in the debate.

Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environmental Sustainability (NRES) Datuk Seri Huang Tiong Sii (pix) during the winding up session said this bill contains 30 clauses involving 28 sections under Act 127 which gives priority to punishments, fines and penalties through the creation of minimum and maximum fines if convicted under this act.

“Apart from that, the existing fine will be increased to RM10 million, especially for offences involving water pollution, oil discharge, discharge of waste in Malaysian waters and illegal disposal of scheduled waste.

“This increase in penalties can teach environmental criminals a lesson and will cause any person who wants to commit an environmental crime to think twice before doing so,“ he said.

Huang said that after this bill is passed, the government has a great responsibility in its implementation and enforcement, therefore the ministry will ensure that human resource capabilities and logistical equipment are improved, especially in terms of the capabilities of the investigation team.

“Currently the Department of Environment (DOE) has a total of 1,132 enforcement officers throughout Malaysia and this number is not sufficient to deal with the increasing and challenging cases of environmental pollution.

“Thus, the ministry is examining the need for increased staffing to create branch offices in every district across the country,“ he said.

Regarding the Licensed Land Surveyors (Amendment) Bill 2024, Huang said the Licensed Land Surveyors Act 1958 (Act 458) has never been amended since it came into effect on May 1, 1958 to license and regulate licensed land surveyors and related matters.

He said that the amendment of the act was necessary considering that the technology in the field of geometric measurement today has developed rapidly and many new terms are used ‘universally’.

“The amendment of this bill contains 15 clauses and the amendment was made to improve and strengthen the existing act to be in line with the current situation,“ he said.

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