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Indiscriminate dumping will leave bigger dent in wallet

Izah Azahari

With the consent of His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA) has announced the Minor Offences Act (Amendment) Order 2021 effective December 29, 2021.

Permanent Secretary (Municipal and District) at the MoHA Salminan bin Haji Burut said this during a press conference on the Minor Offences Act by the Brunei Darussalam Hygiene Issues Steering Committee at the An-Naura Hall of Yayasan Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Complex yesterday.

The amendment to the Minor Offences Act (Chapter 30) is one of the initiatives in the action plan drafted under the Hygiene Issues Steering Committee.

The amendment is on provisions under the Minor Offences Act (Chapter 30) such as the name change for the Minor Offences Act to the Miscellaneous Offences Act, and the increase in fines and imprisonment term for individuals brought to court and found guilty of offences under Section 12 (1) of the Minor Offences Act (Chapter 30), of littering in public spaces.

Under the amended act, individuals who commit an offence under the section, upon conviction, will be liable to a fine of no less than BND1,000 and no more than BND3,000 for the first offence, a fine of no less than BND3,000 and no more than BND9,000 for the second or subsequent offences, and a jail sentence not exceeding six months or both.

Meanwhile, corporate bodies committing the first offence under the section may be liable to a fine of no less than BND2,000 and no more than BND10,000; a fine of no less than BND10,000 and no more than BND30,000 for the second or subsequent offences, and a jail term not exceeding 12 months, or both.

Prior to the amendment, individuals committing an offence under Section 12 (1) was issued a BND1,000 fine for the first offence, BND3,000 for the second or subsequent offences, and a jail sentence not exceeding three months, he said.

Salminan shared that individuals or corporate bodies issued a compound fine for an offence under Section 12 or any offences under the Minor Offences Act (Chapter 30) has also been increased. A compound fine of no more than BND1,000 will be imposed on individuals, while a fine not exceeding BND2,000 will be issued to corporate bodies.

The amendment also contains provisions allowing for action to be taken against corporate bodies including companies, partnerships or associations; officers or managers of the company, partnership or association concerned.

Citing an example, he said, “If a corporate body is found to have committed an offence under the act due to the negligence of an officer or staff or the corporate body, then the officer or staff as well as the corporate body will be punished.

“The amendment hopes to deter individuals and corporate bodies from committing offences related to irresponsible dumping of garbage in public spaces,” Salminan said.

Throughout 2021, compound fines were issued for 641 offences committed under Section 12 of the Minor Offences Act (Chapter 30). The fines were imposed by municipal departments, district offices and the Department of Environment, Parks and Recreation (JASTRe). A total of BND107,100.00 in compound fines were collected.

“Through the whole-of-nation approach, integrated and holistic efforts need to be strengthened and further enhanced, involving all levels of society – the government, non-government organisations (NGOs), the private sector and the public – in the joint responsibility and work to maintain the cleanliness of the environment in the country,” said the permanent secretary.