II. NATIONAL INSTITUTIONAL ARRANGEMENTS
The Environmental Quality Council (EQC), which was established under Section 4(1) of the Environmental Quality Act, 1974, and launched on 12 April 1977, advising the Minister of Science, Technology and the Environment on matters pertaining to the Act and also on any matters referred to it by the Minister. In addition, the Council provides policy guidance to the Department of Environment in the formulation of policies and strategies towards a more holistic approach to environmental management. Council members are appointed by the Minister from the academia, the State governments, federal agencies, the industrial sector and non-governmental organizations.
The Department of Environment serves as the secretariat for the Council. In addition to providing guidance and advice, the Council deliberates and deals with a gamut of issues put before it. In particular, priority is given to enforcement issues and the strengthening of environmental legislation such as: amendments to the Environmental Quality Act, the expansion of the EIA Order and the development of specific sectoral guidelines for EIA-prescribed activities; the state of the environment vis-à-vis monitoring and surveillance programmes and privatization proposals; and the emerging problems of toxic and hazardous wastes associated with industrialization.
The Council also discusses new developments arising from the amendment to the Natural Resources and Environment Ordinance of Sarawak in order to provide for environmental requirements and the implementation of EIA in natural resources development.
Among other matters, the Council considers proposals for strengthening existing enforcement programmes such as the introduce of a scheme to make available monetary awards for information on environmental pollution sources. It also reviews achievements in the treatment of rubber and palm oil mill effluents, and deliberates on proposals for reviewing the fees for disposal of such effluents. Furthermore, the Council pays particular attention to activities concerning the promotion of environmental awareness and education, and strongly supports greater efforts to expand those activities.