Impact of Transboundary Movement of Gmos: Is the Malaysian Biosafety Act 2007 Sufficient to Sustainably Protect the Environment?
Abdul Hamid Murad, Wan Izatul Asma Wan Talaat

Biotechnology could be the answer to many of the modern world’s problems including food scarcity as well as environmental degradation and diseases. While proponents of biotechnology promote the huge benefits of the application of biotechnology in the various fields, the critics put forth controversial legislative, environmental and healthissues. Thus, a workable and effective biosafety law should be in place to facilitate the introduction and development of biotechnological application especially in the field of agriculture. The Biosafety Act 2007 was enacted pursuant to Malaysia’s international commitment on the preservation of biodiversity under the Convention of Biological Diversity and the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety. Although the main objective of this biosafety legislation is in the regulation of the release, importation, exportation and contained use of living modified organisms and the release of products of such organisms, it is found to contain only provisions on criminal liabilityin the event of its contravention without providing any room for civil or private liability available to aggrieved parties. The civil liability regime extended compensatory claim to include damage to the environment apart from maintaining personal and proprietory claims.This paper comparatively looks into the possibility of revising this loophole by comparatively looking into three existing civil liability regimes available for environmental damage in the United States, Norway and Australia along with the LuganoConvention that dealsspecifically with civil liability. This paper concludes with the suggestion for a reform the existing BSA 2007to include civil liability to ensure sustainable environmental, as well as human, protection from the effect of biotechnology.

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