The purpose of the EIA report is as a preventive approach to avoid costly mistakes caused by environmental factors in project planning and development.
In Malaysia, the EIA procedure was initiated in 1988 as a mandatory legislative requirement to protect and enhance the quality of the environment through licensing, setting of standards, coordination of research and dissemination of information to the public under Section 34A of the Environmental Quality Act (EQA), 1974. The section further requires the Project Initiator of a Prescribed Activity to submit a report of the EIA to the Director General of Environmental Quality for approval.
The EIA report must be prepared in accordance with the guidelines issued by the Department of Environment and contain an assessment of the impact of the Prescribed Activity on the environment as well as proposed mitigation measures. Activities subject to EIA are prescribed under Environmental Quality (Prescribed Activities) (Environmental Impact Assessment) Order, 1987. 19 categories of projects are listed as prescribed activities of which Railways and Transportation including construction of MRT is one of them. Additionally Section 34A, EQA 1974 empowers the Minister to prescribe any activity which may have significant environmental impacts as a Prescribed Activity.
The EIA procedures adopted in Malaysia comprises preliminary assessment, detailed assessment and review for each assessment.
- Initial assessment of the impacts due to activities that are prescribed
- Initiated at pre-feasibility study stage of the development of an activity
- Project options are identified
- Any significant residual environmental impacts are made known
- Preliminary report is reviewed by a technical committee in the DOE internally. However, where expertise within the Department is lacking, assistance from other government and non-government agencies may be sought.
- The normal period allocated for a review is one month
- Undertaken for projects for which significant residual environmental impacts have been predicted in the preliminary assessment
- Carried out based on specific terms of reference issued by an ad hoc Review Panel appointed by the Director General
- Detailed EIA Report submitted for approval by the Director General of Environment Quality prior to the giving of approval by the relevant Federal or State Government authority by the implementation of the project
- Detailed EIA Report is reviewed by the ad hoc Review Panel chaired by the Director General
- DOE maintains a list of experts who may be called to sit as members of any Review Panel established. The selection of experts depends on the areas of environmental impacts to be reviewed
- The normal period of review is two months
- Recommendations arising out of review are transmitted to the relevant project approving authorities for consideration in making a decision on the project