Unscheduled recess: Lee waiting outside the Kuala Pilah Sessions Court for the proceedings to resume.
KUALA PILAH: A small, family-owned construction firm in Tampin has been charged with dumping waste, the first in the country to be prosecuted under the Solid Waste and Public Cleansing Act which came into force in 2011.
A.M. Meng Plumbing and Construction is charged under Section 71(1) of the Act for disposing of construction debris last year without obtaining approval from the authorities.
The company, which was represented by its 60-year-old manager Lee Saw Beng, is accused of dumping the waste at around 9am on Oct 13 behind the Centre Point Hotel in Tampin.
The offence carries a fine of between RM10,000 and RM100,000, a jail term of between six months and five years, or both.
Lee, who was clad in a light blue denim shirt and green slacks, caused a stir in court when he sat down midway while the interpreter was reading the charge.
When politely told to stand up, Lee told the interpreter that his back was hurting and that he could not stand up for long.
Asked how he would like to plead to the charge, Lee began to mumble in a mix of broken Malay and Mandarin, saying that he did not know anything about it.
Judge Elesabet Paya Wan then directed court officials to call in a Mandarin-speaking interpreter and temporarily adjourned the proceedings.
When the proceedings restarted two hours later, Lee, who was unrepresented, claimed trial.
Lee then informed the court that he was suffering from acute diabetes and poor health, which required him to seek medical treatment regularly.
He also told the court that he earned nothing from the company and as such, would not be able to post high bail.
Paya Wan told the accused that since it was a summons case, he was not required to post bail, before fixing Aug 11 for case management.
Also present in court was Solid Waste and Public Cleansing Management Corporation chief executive officer Datuk Ab Rahim Md Noor.
Ab Rahim later told reporters that his officers were also investigating 42 cases of illegal dumping and hoped to bring these to court soon.
Rasah MP and former Bahau assemblyman Teo Kok Seong, who was also present, said he would help seek legal advice for Lee.