Asia

Companies responsible for haze to be penalised when entering Malaysia: Finance Minister

KUALA LUMPUR: Companies found to be responsible for haze in the region may be penalised upon entering the Malaysian market, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said on Tuesday (Sep 24), as the monsoon transition provided a respite from the choking haze.

“There was a suggestion that we enact the Transboundary Haze Act where anyone identified as among parties that caused forest fires be subjected to a penalty if they come to Malaysia,” he was quoted as saying by the New Straits Times. He did not elaborate further.

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Malaysia has been on the receiving end of cross-border haze from Indonesia since August, which forced schools to be closed and flights to be cancelled.

The haze also led to a diplomatic incident between the two countries, with Malaysia sending a diplomatic note to Indonesia to urge prompt action over the fires, while Indonesia said some of the fires in the archipelago were on palm plantations operated by Malaysian-owned companies.

READ: Riau declares haze emergency as API exceeds 500

Last Wednesday, Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said Malaysia may introduce a law to compel its companies to put out fires on land they operate abroad.

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“If we find that they are unwilling to take action, we may have to pass a law which will make them responsible for fires in their property, even if its outside of Malaysia,” he said.

Mdm Yeo Bee Yin, the minister in charge of the environment, said last Thursday that her ministry would seek the advice of the attorney-general on drafting the Transboundary Haze Act to handle the haze problem.

READ: Red skies over Indonesia's Jambi province due to haze: Meteorological agency

An environmental law expert had suggested for the government to study the United States extraterritorial legislation known as Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) 1977 when drafting its proposed Transboundary Haze Act.

Dr Hanim Kamaruddin of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia told Bernama that the FCPA was the first to introduce corporate liability, responsibility for third parties and extraterritoriality for corrRead More – Source

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