12 September 2007

Azmi: Government agencies not spending enough time, money on environs issues

The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: Government agencies are not spending enough time and money to raise awareness on environmental issues among their staff, Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Azmi Khalid said.

Expressing his disappointment, he said that as a result most of them lacked knowledge on environmental issues and ended up cutting corners when developing projects.

“There are government agencies, when they do things they don’t think about the environment because they are used to the old ways.

“And only when something happens, they come and investigate, find fault and start pointing fingers,” he told reporters yesterday when asked to comment on the problems faced by the Government in changing Malaysians’ attitude towards environmental issues.

Earlier, he opened a one-day conference on climate change themed “Preparedness Towards Policy Changes”.

On a related matter, Azmi said the Cabinet had decided that all development project proposals must be furnished with environmental input.

He said the decision would ensure government departments and agencies involved in planning projects would be provided with guidelines on environmental aspects before approving development projects.

“Every planning for development projects must have an environmental policy,” he said.

Asked whether the planning was to complement the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report, Azmi said the EIA was more on technical aspects while the new policy dealt directly with environmental aspects on the ground.

“The EIA designed in the 1970s purely looks into the technical aspects and compliance in certain issues. We are looking at the larger issues now,” he added. – Bernama

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