Environmental Crime under the Environment Quality Act 1974

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Environmental crime can be considered as a perpetration of harms against the environment and human health that violate the law. Thus, it differs considerably from the traditional criminal model that focuses on crimes against persons and private property.

The development of the Environmental Quality Act 1974 can be seen with the implementation of the deterrence punishment being applied in dealing with pollution control and other environmental offences. The application of the Act does not limited to the individual but it is extended on the corporate liability.

The enforcement of the deterrence punishment can be seen in the decided case of Malaysian Vermicelli Manufacturers (Melaka) Sdn. Bhd. v. Pendakwa Raya [2001] 3 AMR 3368. In this case, the Sessions Court convicted and sentenced the appellant to a fine of RM 75,000 and in default one year’s imprisonment, on a charge of discharging effluent into inland waters (Malacca river) contrary to Regulation 8(1)(b) of the Environmental Quality
(Sewage and Industrial Effluents) Regulations 1979 (the Regulations) without a license. This is an offence under section 25(1) of the Environmental Quality Act 1974, punishable under section 25(3) of the same Act.

This section states that any person who contravenes section 25(1) “shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable to a fine not exceeding RM100,000 or imprisonment for a period not exceeding five years or both, and to a further fine not exceeding RM1,000 a day for every day that the offence is continued…”.

Dissatisfied with the decision by Sessions Court, the appellant appealed to the High Court. The Honourable High Court, after considering the totality of the evidence provided by the prosecutor, agreed that it had been proved beyond reasonable doubt that the factory was in operation and was discharging effluent into the river, that the charge against the appellant was proven beyond reasonable doubt, and dismissed the appeal.

In conclusion, in Malaysia the condition of enforcement is impressive and encouraging.


Maizatun Mustafa, PhD, Assoc. Prof, Nurah Sabahiah Mohamed, PhD, Asst. Pro THE DEVELOPMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL CRIME AND SACTION IN MALAYSIA

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