Malaysia’s proposed haze law may let Indonesia to shirk own duty, lawyers say

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Motorists pass on a highway shrouded by haze in Malaysia. — Reuters pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 23 ― Imposing a specific law here to punish companies responsible for haze-causing fires in Indonesia could backfire as it might detract from efforts to hold Jakarta accountable for the annual issue, lawyers have said.

While legal practitioners have no issue with introducing such a law, they warned that it would likely do little to push Indonesia to enforce its own laws and policies to manage the long-standing problem.

Lawyers for Liberty executive director Eric Paulsen said any law created to deal with the haze would only work if Indonesian authorities cooperate and get to the bottom of what causes the haze.

“Laws are not magic wands that can make haze disappear. It takes political will and political cooperation for the Indonesian authorities to stop the haze,” he told Malay Mail Online when contacted.

Bar Council Environment and Climate Change committee chairman Roger Chan said reactive statements by Putrajaya do little to solve the annual problem, especially with the lack of details as to what the law would do and a timeframe for it to be passed and enacted. Read more