Wan Junaidi: Let’s protect our Marine Environment with better Laws


Your boat or ship springs a leak and oil spills into the sea. What can you do? It’s not your fault. Right?

Whether it’s your fault or not, you may well be responsible for even accidental oil spills if Natural Resources and Environment Minister Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar has his way. “With [a] new law in place, a more rigorous approach will be taken whereby a person caught, for example, causing oil spills though he has no intention of polluting the sea would still be held responsible and liable to prosecution,” the minister explained.

Such a strict new law would especially be useful for waters in the Straits of Melaka and off Johor, where oil spills, large and small, have been routine. At times spent diesel oil is dumped purposefully into the sea; at other times oil leaks into the sea through negligence. In either case, the result is the same: harm to marine life. To reduce the risks of such spills, harsher punishments and stricter law enforcement are necessary, Wan Junaidi posits, and rightly so.

The minister is also spearheading an effort to introduce a new Environmental Protection Act, the better to safeguard the nation’s natural resources through legal means. “We are facing new challenges that require new laws and enforcement procedures and the 41 new sections, which encompass many new areas, will empower us to better manage the environment,” Wan Junaidi recently explained. “The emergence of more complex global environmental issues results in the need for new approaches and more comprehensive laws to deal with pollutants.”

Such words of determined conservationism are music to the ears of environmentalists. Wan Junaidi has proven himself a tireless advocate of Malaysia’s natural bounty, regularly taking a firm stance against pollution and poaching. A new law that enables authorities to throw the book at people who pollute our seas would certainly be a welcome development in Malaysia’s continued to protect its natural environments from wrongdoers. More power to the minister.