Sarawak engaging in discussions for transfer of environmental autonomy

Posted on 20 Jan 2024
Source of News: New Sarawak Tribune

by James Wong

Director of the Department of Environmental Protection, Vitalis J. Moduying presented a bonsai tree to the Deputy Minister of Urban Planning, Land Administration and Environment Sarawak Ministry of Natural Resources and Development, Datuk Len Talif Salleh was also seen as the Sarawak Environmental Quality Controller, Natural Resources and Environment Board Mr. Jack Liam at the closing ceremony of the 7th Environmental Dialogue in Kuching yesterday. Photo: Ghazali Bujang

KUCHING, 19 January 2024 - Ongoing efforts are being made to ensure the successful transfer of environmental autonomy into the jurisdiction of the Sarawak government, according to Deputy Minister for Urban Planning, Land Administration and Environment, Datuk Len Talif Salleh.

He revealed that discussions are currently underway with relevant ministries to streamline the process, acknowledging the complexity of various layers and levels of authorities involved.

He noted the need to consider not only the transfer of power but also the budgeting aspect, given the presence of numerous federal agencies overseeing environmental matters.

“Due to the presence of numerous federal agencies overseeing environmental matters such as energy and water across various ministries, we need to discuss with them accordingly to resolve this issue,” he explained.

Speaking to the media on Thursday (Jan 18) after officiating the closing ceremony of the 7th Natural Resources and Environment Board-Environment Protection Department Sabah (NREB-EPD) Environmental Dialogue, Len clarified that not all environmental matters will transition to the jurisdiction of the state government.

Matters related to financing, for instance, will remain the responsibility of the federal government.

Regarding the expected timeline for the completion of the transfer of power, he stated that there is currently no fixed timeframe, as it is a complicated issue from the legal perspective.

However, he mentioned that progress has been made in simpler matters, such as finalising administrative aspects.

Meanwhile, Len praised the commitment of both Sarawak and Sabah in facilitating the transfer of environmental autonomy.

He pointed out the importance of environmental agencies, NREB and EPD, in managing natural resources sustainably for the wellbeing of present and future generations.

The seventh series of NREB-EPD Environmental Dialogue was commended for facilitating “the exchange of experiences between environmental agencies from both states, strengthening collaborative efforts to address common environmental challenges,” he added.

Present at the event were Sabah EPD director Vitalis J. Moduying, his deputy Daisy Aloysius and Sarawak environmental quality controller Jack Liam.

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