PSM is disappointed that Muhyiddin’s PN government has decided to scrap the Trans Boundary Haze Pollution Act. Every year Malaysians and others in Southeast Asian countries suffer from the toxic smoke from open fires in Indonesia. As a regional effort to combat this problem, a joint ASEAN effort led to the ASEAN Agreement on Trans Boundary Haze Pollution, which Malaysia ratified in 2002. This agreement requires that member states enact appropriate domestic legislation to combat the problem. However, 18 years on Malaysia has still yet to fulfill our part of the agreement and pass our domestic Trans Boundary Haze Pollution Act.
The reasons given by Environment and Water Minister Datuk Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man regarding the decision to cancel are telling. From his statement (3rd August, New Straits Times) , he emphasized that “action can only be taken against Malaysian-owned companies operating abroad if there is clear evidence obtained”. Very characteristic of this government hesitating to act against large corporations to safeguard the health and safety of ordinary rakyat !
The success of the ASEAN Agreement on Trans Boundary Haze Pollution should be a national priority. By passing our domestic trans boundary haze law, this will signal to Indonesia that dealing with the haze problem is important for us and apply diplomatic pressure for them to comply with the legislative and monitoring requirements of the ASEAN agreement.
We ask the PN government to reconsider their decision, and pass the Transboundary Haze Pollution Act. Put the welfare of Malaysians above the profits of large corporations.
Dr. Darren Ong Chung Lee
Bureau for Environment & Climate Crisis
Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM)