- Overseeing trade and environment: The Ministry of Science, Technology and
Environment (MOSTE) is involved, directly or indirectly, and nationally and internationally in
environmental issues, especially through its Department of Environment. Other areas where
trade and environment impinge on each other, and which fall within the jurisdiction of the
Ministry, include illegal trade in wildlife, the movement of toxic and hazardous wastes, and
the control of ozone-depleting substances.
1. Trade in wildlife: Trade in wildlife is covered by the Convention on
in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which is implemented locally by
the Department of Wildlife and National Parks, or Perhilitan, another agency
Ministry of Science, Technology and the Environment. Enforcement of CITES, which had
traditionally focused on wildlife, has lately been somewhat complicated by the emergence
of concern over trade in non-animal species, such as ramin, a light hardwood.
resulted in the involvement of the Ministry of Primary Industries which has reportedly taken
up the ramin issue, and efforts to exclude it from the CITES Endangered List
are under way.
2. Ozone-depleting substances and hazardous wastes: Toxic and hazardous
ozone-depleting substances are regulated by the Department of Environment through the
Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Wastes and
Their Disposal, and by the Ministry of Science, Technology and the Environment through
the Montreal Protocol. Over and above those international instruments, control of
domestically-derived pollution (indirectly related to trade) emanating from local industries
is routinely exercised by the Department of Environment through the Environmental Quality
Act, 1974, and its regulations.
3. Trade aspects of toxic and hazardous wastes:
In order to handle the trade aspects of
toxic and hazardous wastes, and thereby enforce the requirements of the Basel Convention
in Malaysia, a new control procedure was set in place under the Customs Act, 1967. The Act
put into effect two regulations in August 1993, i.e., the Customs (Prohibition of Exports)
(Amendment) (No. 2) Order, 1993, and the Customs (Prohibition of Imports) (Amendment)
(No. 3) Order, 1993. Those Orders, enforced jointly by the Royal Customs and Excise
Department and the Department of Environment, specify that any export or import of toxic
and hazardous wastes into or out of Malaysia must obtain prior written consent from the
director-general for Environmental Quality. Following the enforcement of the new
regulations, Malaysia acceded to the Basel Convention on 8 October 1993; the date for the
Convention to enter into force in Malaysia was set as 6 January 1994.
4. Control and monitor the use of ozone-depleting substances: In implementing
Montreal Protocol, a National Steering Committee was established to control and monitor
the use of ozone-depleting substances under the auspices of the Department of Environment,
which is the national focal point for the Montreal Protocol.
5. Areas with trade implications: Other areas with trade implications involving
MOSTE include chemicals in general, other than pesticides (which come under the
Pesticides Board of the Ministry of Agriculture). By virtue of its position as the national focal
point for the United Nations Environment Programme, the Department of Environment has been designated as the
Malaysian National Correspondent for the International Register of Potentially Toxic Chemicals,
the International Programme on Chemical Safety, the implementation of the London Guidelines
for the Exchange of Information on Chemicals in International Trade (Amended), 1989, the
operation of the information exchange service and the prior informed consent procedure, and
other international chemical programmes. In that context, the Department plays a complementary role as the Designated National Authority for non-pesticides,
or more specifically, industrial chemicals.
- Promotion of partnership between the North and the South:
In addition to measures implemented by the government to address environmental problems,
Malaysia became party to several international environmental conventions and played an active
role in promoting partnership between the North and the South in combating global environmental
deterioration, particularly through the transfer of financial resources and environmentally sound
technologies from the North as well as the realization of trade and environmental linkages.
Malaysia played an active role in the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, 1992.
From the deliberations, an action plan that presented a set of integrated strategies and
detailed programs to halt and reverse the effects of environmental degradation and to promote
environmentally sound and sustainable development was drawn up. The well-known action plan
known as Agenda 21 formed the basis for action by the international community to integrate
environment and development, with its implementation being monitored by an Inter-Agency
Planning Group (IAPG) under the Office of the Prime Minister.
1. Compliance with commitment: In line with its commitment to Agenda 21,
Malaysia signed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC),
1993, Convention on Biological Diversity 1992, Basel Convention on the Transboundary
Movement of Toxic and Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal, the Ramsar Convention on
Wetlands and the Convention to Combat Desertification.
2. Formulation of policies and initiation of programs: In line with its
commitment to Agenda 21, the National Committee on Climate Change was
formed to formulate policy and initiate programs to carry out scientific research related to
global warming and sea level rise, as well as their socio-economic impacts.
The work of the Committee resulted in Malaysia’s initial national communication to the FCCC.