“PROVIDE UNRESTRICTED ACCESS TO THE DETAILED ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT REPORT (DEIA DOCUMENT) FOR ENVIRONMENTAL TRANSPARENCY”
24th August 2010
The Second Notification concerning the Detailed EIA Report published by the Department of Environment (DOE) in the NST, NST1klassifieds at page C21 deserved a transformative approach in soliciting public’s participation/feedback in environmental impact matters.
The notification stated that the public may reviewed the report from 16th August 2010 until 13th September 2010. However, a concrete review cannot be achieved if the full DEIA is only available in hard copy at the specified eight inspection venues.
Although the public can examine the DEIA document in full at the allocated venues, it is doubtful if they could make a copy of the said document in full for subsequent reference outside the said venues. Hence, any meaningful examination of all terms and points of reference is thus limited to the Executive Summary which, for all practical purposes and intent, serve no purpose because it does not provide for a comprehensive discourse on all critical areas of environmental impacts (the details of which can only be found in the full DEIA document itself).
Free public access to this full DEIA document is further deterred by the imposition of a costly payment/purchase fee of RM300.00.
The DOE must be reminded that the provision of the Executive Summary is severely insufficient for the informed public to make any meaningful assessment regarding the various areas of environmental impact.
There is a serious need for the DOE to take cognizance of the Public Environmental Participation provision which is provided for in the Environmental Quality Act 1974 namely Section 3(1) :
“There shall be a Director General of Environmental Quality who shall be appointed by the Minister from amongst members of the public service and whose powers, duties and functions shall be – (l) to provide information and education to the public regarding the protection and enhancement of the environment.”
The DOE must therefore made available all full DEIA report – not mere executive summary- on all proposed projects at their websites for direct public access and download.
The continual imposition of a purchase fee to obtain the comprehensive DEIA document is a clear impediment to public’s participation in the transparent review of critical area of environmental impact within the proposed marine development and construction area at Sungai Batu Pahat, Daerah Batu Pahat, Johore.
Jeong Chun phuoc
and an advocate in Strategic Environment and Taxation Intelligence(SETI)
He can be contacted at Jeongphu@yahoo.com