Malaysia looking to increase fines on illegal waste shipments

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Malaysia’s Department of Environment has launched a consultation on increasing fines on illegal waste shipments.

It is also looking to increase prison terms and fines for ships, vehicles and premises that do not provide the required information under Malaysia law.

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The country is planning to make amendments to its Environmental Quality Act 1974 (Phase 1) that would see fines and prison terms increase for a wide range of environmental infringements.

Under the existing Act, “prescribed matters” are defined as “any matter whether in solid, semi-solid or liquid form, or in the form of a gas or vapor, which is emitted, discharged or deposited in the environment in such volume, composition or manner as to cause pollution”.

For those that “receive or send, or cause or permit to be received any environmentally hazardous substances, schedules wastes or prescribed matters in or out of Malaysia” and “transit or cause or permit the the transit of schedules wastes or prescribed matters…without any prior written approval of the Director General” the maximum prison sentence will remain at five years.

But the Malaysian Government is consulting on changing the fine from a maximum of 500,000 ringgit (£87,850) to a range of 100,000 ringgit (£17,500) up to 10 million ringgit (£175,700).

Any vehicle, ship or premises that fails to furnish information requested by the Director General as required under the Act will see the potential prison term increase from six months to two years, while fines will increase from 2,000 ringgit (£350) to not less than 5,000 ringgit (£875) up to 50 ringgit (£8,780).

The consultation is open until 1 March and more information is available at http://www.doe.gov.my/eparticipation/

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