Participate Constructively in Detailed Environmental Impact Assessments (DEIA) | WWF Malaysia

Participate Constructively in Detailed Environmental Impact Assessments (DEIA)

General Tip: It would be easier if you work in a group to review a DEIA. If you belong to a Community Based Organisation (CBO) such as a Residents’ Association, try to get members from different fields and expertise (e.g engineers, hydrologist, botanist, economist, etc.) to review relevant sections and provide comments.

Where to find DEIA information

Scan through major English and Bahasa Malaysia newspapers for advertisements on DEIAs that are out for public review. The advertisement will normally be placed in the “Classifieds” section. You could also log on to the Department of Environment (DOE) website for new announcements.

The advertisement will have information on:
  1. The duration of the public review period.
  2. Venues that display the Terms of Reference (TOR) or DEIAs. Normally the venues include the DOE Headquarters in Putrajaya and all state DOEs, local councils or district offices.
  3. How and when to submit comments.

What is...

The Terms of Reference (TOR) determines the scope of the DEIA. The TOR would have been prepared by the consultant and reviewed and approved by the Department of Environment prior to the commencement of the DEIA. A copy of the TOR for the DEIA will normally be available in the Department of Environment library.

Reviewing and commenting on DEIAs

1) Read through the Executive Summary to get an overview of the proposed project and the environmental impacts associated with the proposed project.

2) Check if there is a ‘Statement of Need’ for the proposed project. The Statement of Need will explain why the proposed project is necessary. The Statement of Need should be strong and justified by providing supporting statistics.

3) Check if the DEIAs provide project and site options. Alternative sites for the proposed project should be studied and justification should be provided on why the particular project site has been proposed as opposed to the alternative sites.
The DEIAs should also provide information on alternative projects and the most feasible project option should be proposed as opposed to the alternatives. For example, if a hydroelectric dam is proposed, the DEIA should have considered the alternative options to this project such as power plants and renewable energy. After evaluating all alternative project options, the DEIA should state why the proposed project is deemed as the best project option.

When deciding on the best project and site option, apart from economic factors, the DEIA should also have taken into account the project option with the least environmental impacts and the site option that is least vulnerable to impacts. If no site option or project option have been studied in the DEIA, you can make a comment on this and call for a site and project option study to be carried out.

4) Find out about the existing environment in the proposed area and its surroundings by reviewing the Existing Environment or Baseline Information chapters. Some questions to ask yourself when reviewing this section include:
  • Is the baseline study information adequate?
  • Is the baseline study in line with the Terms of Reference of the DEIA?
  • Do you know more information regarding sensitive areas in the proposed area and its surroundings that is not mentioned in the DEIA? If you do, comment on this. For example, if the area is near an important fisheries area and this is not mentioned in the DEIA, please comment on this. Provide some information on the area if you can.
5) Check on the predicted impacts and the mitigating measures proposed to minimise the impacts. All impacts at the pre-construction, construction and post-construction/ operation stage should be identified. Mitigating measures to minimise the identified impacts should be proposed for all these stages.

Some questions to ask yourself when reviewing this section:
a) Are all the likely impacts identified?
Can you think of other likely impacts from the proposed project that is not mentioned in the DEIA? If you can, please comment on this.
b) Are the identified mitigating measures adequate?
If you know of any mitigating measures that are not adequate and have not worked effectively before, please comment by citing examples that you know.

6) Check to see if the DEIA has proposed a monitoring programme at the pre-construction, construction and post-construction stages of the project. Is the monitoring programme adequate? If it isn’t, comment on that and you can also provide recommendations on how the monitoring programme can be improved.

7) Compile your comments and submit them to the DOE. Provide your personal particulars such as full name, contact address & number and email address.