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Laporan penilaian impak perlu didedahkan kepada umum demi tadbir urus yang baik (Malay/English)

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[ENGLISH VERSION BELOW] Sahabat Alam Malaysia menyeru kepada kerajaan persekutuan dan agensi-agensi berkaitan supaya laporan-laporan penilaian impak seperti penilaian impak sosial, penilaian impak lalulintas dan penilaian impak radiologi didedahkan kepada umum, serta mendapatkan maklum balas awam sebelum kelulusan diberikan.

Penilaian impak sosial dan lalulintas diperlukan untuk projek-projek pembangunan yang relevan sebelum diberikan kebenaran merancang di bawah Akta Perancangan Bandar dan Desa 1976 (APBD), manakala penilaian impak radiologi diperlukan di bawah Akta Perlesenan Tenaga Atom 1984 untuk menangani sisa radioaktif, sebelum pemberian lesen untuk menyimpan sisa tersebut.

Pada masa ini, tiada satu pun daripada laporan-laporan penilaian impak tersebut didedahkan kepada umum atau memerlukan maklum balas atau ulasan orang awam sebelum kelulusan diberikan oleh pihak berkuasa berkaitan.

Walaupun proses penilaian impak sosial melibatkan beberapa perundingan bersama golongan yang berkemungkinan terjejas oleh projek berkenaan, cara kebimbangan mereka ini diambil kira dan ditangani dalam penilaian impaknya tidak diketahui atau telus.

Kami berpandangan bahawa penilaian impak demikian mesti mengikuti prosedur yang sedia ada berkaitan dengan penilaian kesan kepada alam sekeliling di bawah Akta Kualiti Alam Sekeliling 1974, di mana penyertaan dan maklum balas awam diperlukan untuk projek besar yang mempunyai impak serius, sebelum sebarang kelulusan penilaian impak diberikan.

Tambahan, kita tidak berkesempatan untuk mengkaji penilaian impak tersebut kerana tiada keperluan untuk dijadikan laporan-laporan ini umum.

Menyediakan laporan penilaian impak tetapi tidak mendedahkannya kepada umum untuk mendapatkan ulasan terlebih dahulu bukanlah tadbir urus serta petanda yang baik untuk ketelusan dalam pembuatan keputusan.

Contohnya, kita ambil kes projek transit aliran ringan (LRT) di Pulau Pinang yang merupakan kontroversi besar dalam negeri ini. Laporan penilaian impak sosial atau lalulintas tidak didedahkan kepada umum dan dengan itu rakyat yang bimbang tentang projek ini tidak dapat melihat penemuan dan kesimpulan penilaian-penilaian tersebut.

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Bagaimanakah pihak berkuasa boleh mengharapkan orang awam akan yakin terhadap keputusan mereka jika penilaian-penilaian tersebut tidak tertakluk kepada penelitian bebas?

Perkara yang sama berlaku dalam kontroversi yang sedang berlangsung mengenai kolam takungan banjir Kampung Bohol di Wilayah Persekutuan. Laporan-laporan penilaian impak sosial dan lalulintas untuk projek perumahan yang dicadangkan di kawasan tersebut perlu didedahkan kepada umum supaya terdapat penelitian bebas tentang kesan-kesan buruk ke atas komuniti berhampiran.

Selanjutnya, dalam kes penilaian impak radiologi yang melibatkan sisa radioaktif yang mempunyai implikasi serius terhadap kesihatan dan kebajikan manusia, adalah mustahak dan berhemat untuk mendedahkan kepada umum penilaian impaknya. Ini untuk memberi jaminan bahawa semua kebimbangan kesihatan dan keselamatan telah dipertimbangkan serta ulasan awam telah didapati dan penelitian bebas telah disediakan.

Dengan berbuat demikian keyakinan dan kepercayaan orang awam terhadap proses pembuatan keputusan dapat dijamin. Jika tidak, kekurangan ketelusan akan menimbulkan keraguan sama ada keputusan dibuat dengan betul atau secara tertutup, untuk memajukan kepentingan korporat-korporat besar dan penyokong kuat mereka.

Kami berharap kerajaan persekutuan akan mengambil berat seruan ini dan seterusnya mengambil semua langkah yang wajar supaya terdapat ketelusan dan akauntabiliti dalam pembuatan keputusan.

Meenakshi Raman ialah presiden Sahabat Alam Malaysia.

English version

Make impact assessments public for sake of good governance

Sahabat Alam Malaysia calls on the federal government and relevant agencies to make public the various impact assessments, such as social impact assessments, traffic impact assessments and radiological impact assessments and to seek feedback prior to their approval.

Social and traffic impact assessments are required for relevant development projects prior to the grant of planning permission under the Town and Country Planning Act 1976 while a radiological impact assessment is needed under the Atomic Energy Licensing Act 1984 in dealing with radioactive waste, prior to the grant of a licence for keeping such waste.

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Currently, none of these impact assessments are made public or require public feedback or comments prior to the grant of approvals by the relevant authorities.

Although the social impact assessment process does involve some consultations with those likely to be affected by the project, how these concerns have been taken into account and addressed in the impact assessment is not known or made transparent.

We believe these impact assessments must follow the procedures that exist in relation to environmental impact assessments under the Environmental Quality Act 1974, where public participation and feedback are required for major projects with serious impacts, prior to any approval of the assessment.

Moreover, it is also not possible to view such impact assessments as there is no requirement to make them public.

Having impact assessments done and not making them public for comments beforehand is not good governance and does not augur well for transparency in decision-making.

Take the case of the [elevated] light rail transit in Penang, which is of major controversy in the state. The social and traffic impact assessments are not public and so concerned people are not able to view the findings and conclusions of these assessments.

How can the authorities expect the public to have confidence in the decisions they take if such assessments are not subject to independent scrutiny?

The same is the case in the current ongoing controversy over the Kampung Bohol flood retention pond in the Federal Territory. The social and traffic impact assessments for the proposed housing project in the area should be made public so that there can be independent scrutiny over the adverse impacts on nearby communities.

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Further, in the case of a radiological impact assessment involving radioactive waste, which has grave and serious implications for human health and welfare, it is imperative and prudent to make the impact assessment public to provide the assurance that all health and safety concerns have been considered and public comments and independent scrutiny have been provided.

By doing so, public confidence and trust in the decision-making process can be assured. Otherwise, a lack of transparency gives rise to doubts over whether decisions are being made properly or behind closed doors to advance the interests of big corporate players and their powerful backers.

We hope the federal government will heed this call and take all measures to ensure greater transparency and accountability in decision-making.

Meenakshi Raman is president of Sahabat Alam Malaysia.

The views expressed in Aliran's media statements and the NGO statements we have endorsed reflect Aliran's official stand. Views and opinions expressed in other pieces published here do not necessarily reflect Aliran's official position.

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