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6-Regulation: Malay biosafety bill to be tabled in parliament inMarch

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TITLE:  Biosafety Bill to be tabled in Parliament in March...
SOURCE: Utusan Online, Malaysia
DATE:   Jan 21, 2003

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Biosafety Bill to be tabled in Parliament in March...

In KUALA LUMPUR, the Science, Technology and Environment Ministry is
expected to table the Biosafety Bill, aimed at protecting public health
and the environment, at the next parliamentary sitting to be held in March.

Its minister, Datuk Seri Law Hieng Ding, said that the Bill was also
intended to inject a reasonable level of confidence among consumers on
the safety of biotechnology products.

"The proposed Bill is currently being vetted by the Attorney General's
Office," he told reporters after opening the United Nations Environment
Programme/Global Environment Facility (UNEP-GEF) Biosafety Workshop on
Risk Assessment and Public Participation for Asia here Tuesday.

Participants from 23 countries are attending the four-day seminar.

"Now, we are still waiting for comments by the attorney-general," he said.

Law said that an inter-ministerial committee had been set up to harmonise
the formulation of the Biosafety Bill with the existing related laws and

He said that this was because the legislative framework for biosafety is
not under the purview of one single authority or ministry as under the
Malaysian Ministerial Act there are overlapping concerns on biosafety.

"For example, the Ministry of Health regulates genetically modified (GM)
food while agricultural and veterinary affairs come under the purview of
the Ministry of Agriculture, (whereas) economic and trade-related issues
and environmental aspects are under the Ministry of Science, Technology
and Environment," he said.