Sunday, October 09, 2011

An environmental performance index next year

October 14, 2011
Green light for EPI to gauge states

GEORGE TOWN: Malaysia’s own Environmental Performance Index (EPI) which is designed to gauge the performance of each state in managing environmental issues is scheduled to be implemented by next year.

Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Douglas Unggah Embas said the Cabinet had given the green light for the EPI to be carried out comprehensively.

The project is a joint effort between the ministry and Universiti Teknologi Malaysia.

“We need a yardstick to gauge the performance of each state,” said Douglas.

“At the moment, everything is based on verbal commitments. For example, we cannot compare Selangor with Penang (on which state has done better in managing environmental issues). We need something concrete for this purpose,” he said after visiting the Penang Land and Mines Office in Komtar yesterday.

Douglas said the EPI would be developed in line with the Global Environmental Perfor-mance Index.

He said some of the parameters for the measurement include socio-economic sustainability, resources efficiency, environmental governance and awareness as well as behaviour of the people.

“We are trying to make it as simple as possible so that it can be understood by everyone,” he said.

Douglas also said that Penang’s “e-Tanah” system, an integrated online system for land management and administration, has seen 250,000 transactions being processed between Jan 1 and Sept 30 of this year.

He said the number of transactions had doubled compared to the corresponding period last year.

When visiting Sungai Petani, Douglas said the Sungai Muda flood mitigation project was 5% ahead of schedule and it is likely to be completed on time.

The RM420mil project started in 2007 and is expected to be completed by the end of 2013.

Douglas said that more than 850 families living along Sungai Muda would benefit when it is completed.

The project will alleviate flooding in the area where the river banks will be raised to avert the overflow of water from the river, especially during heavy rain.

“Look at Thailand, which is affected by the worst floods in its history. We do not want a similar situation here. The Federal Government is planning ahead for the people, he said.


Sunday October 9, 2011

KUCHING: The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment is to develop an environmental performance index as a yardstick to gauge the environmental management performance of every state next year.

Minister Datuk Seri Douglas Uggah Embas said the Malaysia Environmental Performance Index (EPI) 2012 would be developed in collaboration with Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) under the 10th Malaysia Plan (2011-2015).

He said the cabinet has agreed to the ministry's proposal, which also had the support of the various federal agencies.

"At the moment, we do not have an indicator on the public response to environmental issues, like climate change, being discussed by a lot of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) at dialogues and conferences, or the performances of local bodies like the Kuching City South Hall in managing solid and sewage waste disposal and number of acreages on trees planted," he said.

Speaking to reporters after officiating at the Kuching Division Journalists Association (KDJA) Car Boot Sale and Sports Day at the Kuching Integrated Sports Complex here, he said it would also help the ministry in terms of resource allocation and manpower needs.

Generally, Malaysia's standing is at 54th position among 163 countries worldwide under the Global EPI 2010 based on quantitative data obtained from the World Health Oganisation, United Nations Global Environmental Monitoring System, government agencies, NGOs and academia, he said.

The Malaysia EPI 2012 will also address issues pertaining to socio-economic sustainability as one of the data to include three categories of policy on resources efficiency, environmental governance as well as environmental awareness and behaviour. - Bernama

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