Lam Thye: Ensure police Environment Crime Unit members have expertise

Alliance for Safe Community chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye said while the formation of the Environmental Crime Unit, which falls under the jurisdiction of the police is lauded, it is vital to ensure the unit members possess expertise to tackle pollution issues. - NSTP/File picAlliance for Safe Community chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye said while the formation of the Environmental Crime Unit, which falls under the jurisdiction of the police is lauded, it is vital to ensure the unit members possess expertise to tackle pollution issues. – NSTP/File pic

KUALA LUMPUR: While the formation of the Environmental Crime Unit, which falls under the jurisdiction of the police is lauded, it is vital to ensure the unit members possess expertise to tackle pollution issues as it is a fresh area of interest.

Alliance for Safe Community chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye said it was important that the team acquired the necessary expertise in the field as environmental crime is a relatively new area in Malaysia.

It was timely that the Malaysian government boost and take strict proactive measures for environmental protection, he said.

The move to set up the unit would complement the Environment and Water Ministry (Kasa) which is steering its formation as it may not be fully equipped or have the expertise to deal with issues pertaining to environmental crimes.

“We welcome the unit as it is appropriate that the police, which is under the Home Ministry’s purview, look into environmental issues like water contamination or air pollution which can threaten the health and safety of the people.

“It must be treated as a security problem which requires the action of the police. What would be more important is that as the police is in the midst of setting up the unit, they must ensure its officers are given adequate training and fully equipped with the expertise and knowledge to deal with these issues.

“The unit will have an important role to play mainly in terms of enforcing the Environmental Quality Act 1974. It will be a new area for the police and I do not think they have done environmental crime before.

“If an offence has all the elements of a crime, there should be full pursuit by the unit. I hope that it will be enforced without fear or favour and it is done with integrity,” Lee told the New Straits Times.

Kasa had yesterday announced the formation of the Environmental Crime Unit, which is a joint effort between three ministries. The unit will monitor and fight environmental crimes nationwide.

Environment Minister Datuk Seri Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man had said that the unit will involve a tripartite cooperation between the Environment and Water Ministry, Defence Ministry and Home Ministry and fall under police jurisdiction.

Tuan Ibrahim said Senior Defence Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob had agreed in principle to the matter, adding it will also be discussed with Home Minister (Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin) to coordinate a joint effort between Kasa’s enforcement agency, along with the Armed Forces and the police.

Lee also suggested that the views of environmental based organisations as well as experts in the country be sought in the course of forming the unit before it is officially materialised.

“The Environmental Quality Act also needs to be reviewed to provide harsher punishment against the irresponsible polluters. It must be looked from the point of view of it serving as a deterrent.

“For example, factory owners must be made highly aware of their responsibilities such as ways to manage and dispose toxic waste and also the severe consequences if they do not comply,” he added.

By Dawn Chan.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/news/nation/2020/09/622921/lam-thye-ensure-police-environment-crime-unit-members-have-expertise

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