A climate change bill must be introduced, according to Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye, and it must include provisions to prevent environmental harm from development activities.

Legislation on climate change and environmental protection must emphasise conservation of natural resources rather than just corrective action.

A climate change bill must be introduced, according to Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye, chairman of Alliance for a Safe Community, and it must include provisions to prevent environmental harm from development activities.

Lee acknowledged that Malaysia was already vulnerable to extreme weather conditions that could cause floods, surface runoff and the resulting landslides, land subsidence, and even droughts.

According to him, extreme weather conditions exacerbate the negative effects of man-made disasters caused by unchecked development and a lack of local authorities’ oversight. ”

He added that there has been extensive encroachment, development, and activity in environmentally sensitive areas like peat bogs, hills, slopes, and watersheds of forests, all of which have negative effects that are exacerbated by climate change. ”

“As we continuously see reports of landslip subsidence and the number of fatalities, it has become a yearly déjà vu of rescue efforts, finger-pointing and defensiveness.”

“To add insult to injury hundreds of millions of rakyat’s money have been awarded to contractors to conduct remedial works, all of which could have been prevented if proper control and precautionary approaches on development have been done by local authorities and developers, with less focus on short-term gains,” he told the New Sraits Times.

Lee noted that in the past, recommendations had taken the form of various Acts, guidelines, and policy documents, and included policy directions, intentions, and ideas to reduce the effects of climate change. In theory, the government would have been guided by five-year development plans, various environmental acts, and policy documents when deciding what kinds, how much, and where to allow development.

The conservation of natural resources and environmentally sensitive areas should be a priority for environmental protection legislation, according to the speaker, rather than just corrective actions.

He claimed that multilateral commitments made by Malaysia in accordance with agreements, resolutions, declarations, and international conventions it has ratified—not least of which is the 1992 Convention on Climate Change and Biodiversity—complement Malaysia’s strategies for actions to protect the environment and lessen the effects of climate change.

The National Policy on Climate Change (2012) sought to mainstream climate change through the prudent management of resources and improved environmental preservation. This was because Malaysia’s National Policy on Environment was established in 2002.

According to him, the policy, which consists of 43 key actions, also aims to improve institutional and implementation capacity, which is essential for any policy or piece of legislation to be successful. Thus, it is clear that Malaysia has many laws, regulations, and discussions pertaining to environmental preservation and climate change.

But when mishaps and tragedies occur repeatedly, we question whether policymakers, local authorities, and implementors are oblivious to them.

Although there have been many violations of environmental law, there have only been a small number of prosecutions or other enforcement actions, which only come to light when there is a public outcry.

According to him, the primary issue with the legal system is its sectoral approach, which leaves some grey areas unregulated because of the overlap between the various government organisations already in place with responsibility for managing environmental well-being.

“Natural resource conservation must be prioritised in environmental protection and climate change legislation, as opposed to just corrective actions. The prevention of environmental harm by development activities must be a part of this law. The government must immediately introduce a climate change bill and review all current environmental protection laws, he declared.