Time has come for greater transparency on environmental disasters in Malaysia and government should make public the JICA report on the haze disaster


Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Petaling Jaya, Thursday): The Minister for Science, Technology and Environment, Datuk Law Hieng Ding said yesterday that six Japanese scientists who conducted studies on the haze last month had recommended that a more intensive research be carried out on particulate pollutant (PM10) which were found to be at high levels during the haze.

He said their report stated that high levels of PM10 were found in Kuching and in Kuala Lumpur during the second-half of September. He said the readings in Kuching in the second half of September rose to about five times the local safety level. The local safety level is 150gm per cubic metre while the reading in Kuching at one point was 856 gm per cubic metre. He did not give the PM 10 level in Kuala Lumpur for the corresponding period.

The Japanese team comprising two medical doctors and four environmental scientists were from the Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA), returned home on Oct. 16.

I am disappointed that Law had not released the full JICA report to the public, but is only releasing dribs and drabs of the report. This is most unsatisfactory.

The time has come for greater transparency on environmental disasters in Malaysia and the government should make public the JICA report on the haze disaster, so that environmental groups and Malaysians have an opportunity to read its findings.

When Law received the JICA report last Thursday, it was reported that the ten-day study by the Japanese experts was on the impact of the haze on public health and the environment in Kuching.

From Law’s statement yesterday, it would appear that the JICA team had also studied the impact of the haze on public and the environment in Kuala Lumpur.

As the JICA report recommended, among others, increasing public awareness about the haze disaster, the first thing Law Hieng Ding should do is to make public the JICA report. I would contact Law Hieng Ding to ask for a copy of the JICA report, which should not be hidden away from the public under the Official Secrets Act.

(16/10/97)


*Lim Kit Siang - Malaysian Parliamentary Opposition Leader, Democratic Action Party Secretary-General & Member of Parliament for Tanjong