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Natural Resources and Environment Minister has instructed the Environment Department to review its penalty regulations on open burning. The current blanket RM2,000 compound did not have the deterrence effect to stop opening burning. Pix by RAHMAT OTHMAN

PUTRAJAYA: The Natural Resources and Environment Minister has instructed the Environment Department to review its open burning penalty regulations.

Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said the current blanket RM2,000 compound did not have the deterrence effect of stopping open burning.

"Now if you are big companies earning big profits, the RM2,000 compound is just pocket change for them and they can just use their petty cash to pay it," he told reporters after chairing the National Haze Committee meeting today which lasted for more than two hours.

Wan Junaidi said the compound amount should reflect the seriousness of the offence and should vary depending on whether it was done by an individual or a company.

The current compound of RM2,000 might only be appropriate for domestic open burning, he added.

Wan Junaidi also said today's meeting had approved the set up of two new sub-committees that were respectively tasked with studying the economic losses incurred by various sectors due to the haze as well as the standard operating procedures for haze. Malaysia will be using two tools to measures particles at 2.5 micron or PM2.5 and read fine particles of less than 10 microns (PM10) for the Air Pollutant Index next year.

The sub committees are expected to complete their tasks in two months, and table it at the National Haze Committee meeting before it is brought to the Cabinet for approval, Wan Junaidi said.

“The SOP on haze will include when to do cloud seeding as well as the issuance of unhealthy level notices and health advisories.

“On the economic losses, we anticipate the study will take a bit longer but this is needed as plantation, agriculture, construction and tourism sectors have all suffered during the haze situation.

"So we need to compile the details and report to manage the haze situation as well as its outcomes,” he said, adding that the national committee was scheduled to meet three months to go through the finding from both committees.

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