VI. PROBLEMS IN THE IMPLEMENTATION OF PLANNED ENVIRONMENTAL MEASURES
A. Manpower and enforcement
The Department of Environment has an inadequate number of enforcement officers. Rapid development and industrialization has increased all types of pollution in Malaysia and the Department of Environment has had to seek help from other government departments in apprehending environmental polluters. The Department is conducting a joint aerial surveillance programme with the Police Air Wing on open burning, discharge of industrial effluents and discharge of waste into water bodies.
The Department has also delegated authority under the Environmental Quality Act, 1994, to the Departments of Fisheries, Marine Police and Customs, as well as the Port Authorities to apprehend polluters. Although that delegation of authority shows that Malaysia has sufficient environmental laws, the country still lacks manpower for enforcing them. The complexity of the environmental issues requires the cooperation of all agencies in resolving the various environmental problems. The Department of Environment has yet to take a lead role in providing the direction, leadership and the will to prosecute offenders. It is unreasonable to expect departments that are in charge of developing the economic sectors to also take responsibility for protecting or enhancing those sectors. The Department of Environment has found an ally in its efforts to enforce the laws. The courts in recent times have turned a sympathetic ear to the speedy hearing and disposal of environmental cases.