III. MECHANISMS FOR INTEGRATING ENVIRONMENTAL CONSIDERATIONS INTO AGRICULTURAL POLICY
F. Implementation of the mechanisms
The Implementation Coordination Unit of the Prime Minister's Department in general oversees and coordinates the policies of the government and the implementation of those policies. The Implementation Coordination Unit was established in 1972 and is headed by a director-general who is assisted by two deputies, the divisional directors and the directors of State Development Offices. The principal objectives of the Implementation Coordination Unit are to:
The Implementation Coordination Unit has various sections. Of particular relevance to this study are the Agriculture and Rural Development Division and the State Development Offices. The Agriculture and Rural Development Division was established to coordinate, identify and evaluate agricultural and rural development projects effectively and efficiently in order to ensure that national policies are met and the targeted groups enjoy the benefits. In order to meet its objectives, the Division acts as a team in helping through the process of decision-making in order to solve the problems encountered and contribute to the smooth running of the agencies involved in implementing the decisions. The State Development Offices exist in every State and are responsible to the Implementation Coordination Unit. They offices are responsible for the implementation and monitoring of all development projects under the Five-Year Plan in their respective States. They are also responsible for the implementation of minor projects at State level, including those in the State constituencies, including water supplies and rural roads.
Institutions have been set up to carry out policies and enforce regulations made under the relevant enabling legislation. The number of institutions are numerous, and they are based on environmental resources and other environmentally-related legislation. The institutions set up to manage the environment and environmentally-related matters can be divided into two: federal-level organizations and State-level organizations. Those institutions can further be divided based on their powers in law, that is: government agencies given the responsibilities to administer a certain aspect of environmental resources and other environmentally-related matters; and those agencies given the power to administer legislation and act legally within the mandate of the Constitution. The constitutional arrangements translate into a mix of federal and State agencies in environmental matters. Key federal agencies include the Departments of Mines and Forestry under the Ministry of Primary Industries, the Departments of Agriculture and Fisheries under the Ministry of Agriculture, and the Department of Environment under the Ministry of Science, Technology and the Environment. Most have State-level offices, which are typically staffed by federal officers or sometimes a mix of federal and State officers.
An understanding of the machinery for planning and administration at the State level is pertinent to a clearer understanding of the planning and implementation processes. The State governments of peninsular Malaysia practice the committee system of government. The State arm of the government is the State Executive Council. Each committee is chaired by a State Executive Councillor and the purpose of the committee is to consider matters pertaining to existing policies and policy change, direction and coordination for all departments under the portfolio of the committee. In terms of planning and administration at the State level, three committees constitute the prime media and institution for development:
In addition to the above three committees, the Department of Environment has initiated the formation of a State Executive Committee to promote, coordinate and advise on all matters related to the protection and preservation of the environment. The principal functions of the Committee are:
The institutional arrangements can be very effective if the legislation and regulations and their implementation are harmonized. Insofar as harmonization between laws and regulations are concerned, it does not pose any problem because regulations are made under the purview of the relevant legislation. The actual problem lies in the harmonization between laws and their implementation when there are inadequate mechanisms such as a lack of enforcement officers and funding for enforcement purposes.