Putrajaya is seeking to repeal a law which provides discretionary powers to the state governments in requiring a social impact analysis on major infrastructure projects.
This was according to the explanatory notes of the Bill which sought to remove Section 21A(1A) of the Town and Country Planning Act 1976.
Putrajaya is also seeking to add a new Section 20B, which will compel both federal and state governments, except Sabah and Sarawak, to obtain "advice" on infrastructure projects from a "council".
These infrastructure projects includes coastal reclamation, airports, seaports, highways, dams, and toxic waste disposal sites, as well as any infrastructure the "council" deem to be of national interest.
The term "advice" and "council" are not explained in the Bill. However, it is likely to refer to the National Physical Planning Council (NPPC) which is an instrument of the Town and Country Planning Act.
The NPPC is chaired by Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak while several of his cabinet members are council members.
"The duty to seek advise from the council is imposed because of the potential impacts of the development particularly on the environment, social development and the economic development of the nation and states," the Bill states.
It adds that the council will be able to advise both the federal and state governments to streamline development and optimise the use of natural resources.
The Bill also requires that social impact analyses be included in development proposals submitted to the council. The Bill is expected to be debated tomorrow. - Mkini