NATURAL RESOURCES AND ENVIRONMENT BOARD (NREB) SARAWAK
(Lembaga Sumber Asli dan Persekitaran Sarawak)
The Natural Resources and Environment Board (NREB)
Sarawak was established on 1 February 1994 pursuant to section 3 (1) of the
Natural Resources and Environment Ordinance.
The Board has wide powers with regard to environmental protection and management
and the sustainable use of natural resources in the State. The protection and
enhancement of Sarawaks spectacular and diverse natural environment are
key roles of the Board.
The Board is also empowered to administer the provisions of the Public Parks
and Greens Ordinance and the development and management of water catchment areas
for public water supply, pursuant to sections 4, 8 and 10 of the Water Ordinance
The NREB is headed by the Controller of Environmental Quality, who together
with other staff, are employed under section 3 (9) of the Natural Resources
and Environment Ordinance.
The current position of the Acting Controller is held by Mr. Chong Ted Tsiung.
Assisting him in the execution of the functions and powers of the Board are
technical personnel who have qualifications and expertise in ecology, forestry,
agriculture, engineering (agriculture, chemical and civil), zoology, chemistry,
environmental science and other environmental related disciplines.
Functions and Powers of NREB
The functions and powers of the Board, as provided under Section 5 of the Natural
Resources and Environment Ordinance, are broadly summarised thus - to formulate
or develop policies and guidelines to ensure that the exploitation, conservation
and management of natural resources in the State will not cause any adverse
impact on the environment; to determine the mode and manner whereby natural
resources can be exploited or used without damaging, polluting or causing adverse
impact on the environment; to stop, control or prohibit the destruction of vegetation
for the prevention of erosion, damage or injury to the natural resources, rivers
and landscapes or the protection of the inland waters of the State; to provide
information and education to the public regarding the protection and enhancement
of the environment, and to take or undertake such measures or steps as may be
necessary to safeguard the quality of the environment.
With the recent occurrences of haze in Sarawak, the Government has made amendments
to the Natural Resources and Environment Ordinance for effective control of
Under section 30 (1) (a) any person who carries out or causes or permits to
be carried out open burning of refuse or other combustible materials on any
land without written permission of the Controller shall be guilty of an offence:
Penalty, a fine of twenty thousand ringgit and imprisonment for three years.
Under section 30 (2) any person who, without the written permission of the Controller,
cuts, destroys and burns vegetation in any area which is not Native Customary
Land, shall be guilty of an offence: Penalty, a fine of thirty thousand ringgit
and imprisonment for three years.
Centre for Remote Environmental Monitoring (CREM)
Following the serious haze episodes occurring in Sarawak in mid 1997 and early 1998, the NREB has developed haze prediction system to enable the State Government to give early warning to the inhabitants of Sarawak.
Acting Conroller... Mr Chong Ted Tsiung. The NREB has wide powers of protecting and enhancing Sarawak's spectacular and diverse natural resources.
This early warning system is vital for appropriate actions to be taken by both
the Government and general public to reduce the impact of haze on health.
The prediction system consists of remote monitoring of hot spots via satellite
and remote monitoring of ambient air pollutant index (API) in various areas
of Sarawak. The system is located in the NREB office at Menara Pelita.
Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)
Section 11 A (1) of the Natural Resources and Environment Ordinance stipulates
the statutory requirement for Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for development
activities having impacts on the environment.
Hence, the Natural Resources and Environment (Prescribed Activities) Order was
enacted in 1994 to cause mandatory requirement for EIA for development activities
categorized as follows:
Development of commercial, industrial and housing estates
Activities which may pollute inland water or affect sources of water
Fisheries and activities which may endanger marine or aquatic life, plants
in inland waters or erosion of riverbanks
Any other activities which may damage or have an adverse impact on quality
of the environment or natural resources of the State.
No development activity shall be carried out or commenced until:
the EIA report required to be submitted to the NREB is approved and the
NREB has given permission in writing for such activities to be undertaken or
the person or project developer has undertaken in writing to comply with
the orders or directives of the NREB
EIA studies are carried out by experts or consultants who have been duly registered
and approved by the NREB. The NREB maintains a reference list of all of these
environmental experts or consultants.
Environmental pollution caused by the disposal of livestock wastes into watercourses
has prompted the State to enact a law in 1996 known as the Natural Resources
and Environment (Control of Livestock Pollution) Rules.
This law was made under section 18 (v) of the Natural Resources and Environment
Ordinance. The Rules, which came into force on 1 January 1997, require all livestock
farms to install facilities for the treatment of livestock wastes prior to the
issuance of licences by the Controller of Environmental Quality.
Water Pollution Control
Under section 30 A (a) of the Ordinance, any person who knowingly does any act
or conducts any activity which pollutes or contaminates any inland waters shall
be guilty of an offence: Penalty, a fine of fifty thousand ringgit and imprisonment
for five years.
Since 1998, the NREB has launched River Watch Programme (RWP) to monitor water
quality in all major rivers of Sarawak. The parameters included in the monitoring
programme are :- Dissolved Oxygen (DO), pH, temperature, salinity, conductivity,
turbidity, total suspended solids, biochemical oxygen demand (BOD), chemical
oxygen demand (COD), ammoniacal nitrogen and total coliform counts.
The State Government has directed NREB to ensure that the water quality in all
rivers of Sarawak be maintained to at least Class IIB of the Proposed Interim
National Water Quality Standards (INWQS). In this regard, the NREB is imposing
strict control of human activities in catchments of rivers.
Sarawak had designated 1.09 million ha as Water Catchment Areas under the provisions
of the Water Ordinance 1994 for the conservation, protection and development
of inland water resources.
Urban Environment and Public Health
C.R.E.M... The Centre for Remote Environmental Monitoring within Menara Pelita makes detection of open burning 'hotspots' easier.
As the leading environmental enforcement agency in Sarawak, the NREB has the
responsibility to ensure a high quality of public health and urban environment.
It is therefore an active channel to receive public complaints on environmental
issues especially in the urban areas.
Immediate investigations are carried out and appropriate action undertaken to
alleviate the situation. Beside, the Board also conducts regular monitoring
on illegal dumping and open burning activities as an effort to safeguard environmental
quality and reduce health hazards.
Since its formation in 1994, the Board has successfully created significant
impact in policy planning and management practices in various sectors of development
in the State. The Boards commitment in regulating and enhancing the quality
of our natural environment will ensure the sustainable use of the natural resources
which provides the basis for continuous economic development in Sarawak.
The Board will continue to be the lead agency in environmental management and
protection for sustainable development of the State. The Board can be contacted
18th & 19th Floors, Menara Pelita
93050 Petra Jaya