Selangor acts against illegal factories on riverbanks

Torn down: MPS enforcement officers demolishing an illegal factory operating along Sungai Rawang in Kampung Dato Lee Kim Sai, Selangor. — SIA HONG KIAU/The Star

SELANGOR is bringing to book operators of illegally run factories and businesses on state land in an effort to address river pollution.

Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Amirudin Shari said such operators were found to be a major culprit in river pollution which resulted in numerous water disruptions in these few months alone.

“We are going after those in Selayang first as there have been many such incidents in that municipality in the past.

“In the meantime, relevant agencies in other districts will gather information on similar operations in their respective areas, ” he said.

He also said illegal businesses operating on state government land could not take part in the state offer to legalise factories located on other types of land. The offer ends on Dec 31.

“In this case they have no choice but to vacate the land, especially if it is on river reserve, ” Amirudin said in reference to a demolition operation of illegal workshops along Sungai Rawang yesterday.

In the operation at Kampung Dato Lee Kim Sai in Rawang, two heavy machinery workshops that had been operating illegally for more than 15 years on the banks of Sungai Rawang were torn down.

Selangor tourism, environment, green technology and Orang Asli affairs committee chairman Hee Loy Sian, who witnessed the demolition operation, said eight such businesses, including the two demolished, were identified along Sungai Rawang in Selayang.

The other six would be demolished within the next month, he said.

“Six of these businesses identified were found to be heavy machinery workshops while the other two were recycling centres, ” he disclosed, saying that the demolition of the structures would be carried out in stages.

Hee said that although the operators did not cause the recent pollution, the authorities were taking proactive measures to stop the illegal activities of the factories before they caused more harm, ” he explained, stressing that all eight businesses had been shut down.

“Selayang Municipal Council (MPS) and Gombak Land and District Office have issued several notices to these operators since September to vacate and demolish their structures.

“Failing which, the agencies will take action against them, including confiscating assets and issuing compounds, ” said Hee.

He said it was their last chance to remove their assets and move out before the structures were torn down.

Yesterday’s action was taken under Section 425 of the National Land Code 1965 for illegal settlement on government land.

Led by the Gombak Land Office, the operation included officers from MPS, Selangor Drainage and Irrigation Department, Selangor Water Management Authority and the Environment Department.

Since September, several instances of odour pollution were traced to Sungai Rawang and Sungai Gong, one of the tributaries of Sungai Selangor, leading to water supply disruptions affecting over one million account holders in the Klang Valley in the span of barely three months.

Four water treatment plants — Sungai Selangor Phases 1,2, 3 and Rantau Panjang — had to be closed down.

In several cases, the solvents in Sungai Gong were eventually traced to nearby workshops of car parts and machinery.

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