Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Crooked Developers And Consultants Beware - Prison Beckons.

I was happy indeed to read this news in The Star today:

Developers and consultants who misrepresent facts in an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report will in future face a mandatory jail term if convicted.

Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Azmi Khalid said the custodial sentence would be the ministry’s suggestion when its proposal to empower all consultants to undertake the EIA instead of the Department of Environment (DOE) is approved by the Cabinet. The DOE, he added, would then play a monitoring role and take action against those responsible for environmental damage. He stressed that imposing fines alone was not a deterrent to big developers and consultants who could afford to pay them. “Jail sentences will see the person responsible penalised and not the company,” he said.

The proposal, he said, was mainly due to the many allegations against the department whenever a problematic project was said to have EIA approval. Local authorities have also been blamed for such projects.

**** Azmi Khalid, well done. So far. You are absolutely right when you say that the developers and the consultants won't bother about fines. I mean what's ten thousand bucks when you're raking in a thousand times that. 'Pay the fine and be done with it' would be their thinking. Threaten to put these bastards in the slammer for a year and then you'll see some results. Rather than just leaving it at the proposal stage, my dear Azmi, I suggest you lobby the Cabinet pronto and get it through real fast or I can bet you that the developers will prove to be better lobbyists than you and your Pegawai at the ministry.

Also watch your back where the DOE guys are concerned. There have been stories that an honest DOE officer was bumped off by some mafia characters. There is a lot money to be made in the environment business and if there are corrupt officers there, and the chances of that are very, very bright, they won't be too overjoyed to have their kuasa and nasi periuk diminished.

While at it wouldn't it be nice if you could actively lobby the government to also jail civil servants who are hand in glove with these developers? Would it be asking too much, Azmi, if you could also include corrupt politicians especially mentris besar and chief ministers who to my mind are the biggest culprits in this environment scam? Nothing like a spell in prison to rehabilitate the most crooked politicians eh! Would you do that Azmi? Please, pretty please?


Blogger prl said...

Why is the government looking at only one side in dealing with this problem. Surely the local authorities should also bear the same responsibility. After all they are the approving authority and as such they have failed in their duty or were corrupt.

In the Highland Towers tragedy the court did not say that the local authority was innocent. It said that even if the local aothority was negligent it was still exempt from paying damages.

Surely the local authorities officers should be liable for a criminal offence where loss of life is concerned caused by the lack care and negligence of its officers. What is the difference between such an attitude and that of a driver of car killing a person through negligent act.

5:18 PM GMT+8  
Blogger The Malaysian. said...

prl, you know it and I know it, but the government obviously does not want to know. As long as they treat local authorities with kid gloves things aren't going to improve even if action is taken against some developers.

5:32 PM GMT+8  

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