KUALA LUMPUR: There are plans to amend the Environmental Quality Act 1974 to impose stiffer penalties for those guilty of environmental pollution says Deputy Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Minister Isnaraissah Munirah Majilis.
The confirmation comes after public outcry for stiffer penalties following the Sungai Kim Kim toxic waste incident in Pasir Gudang, Johor.
"Yes, we are proposing to amend the Act and also looking at ways for more comprehensive and stricter enforcement to reduce pollution of the environment," she said when responding to a supplementary question raised by Larry Sng Wei Shien (PH-Julau) in Dewan Rakyat. (March 19).
Sng asked if there were plans to amend Section 34B of the Act, which carries a maximum jail sentence of five years and a maximum fine of RM500,000 upon conviction.
Meanwhile, Cha Kee Chin (PH-Rasah) expressed worry over a recent statement by Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Osman Sapian that toxic waste cleared from Sungai Kim Kim would be transferred to Negri Sembilan.
"If Johor does not want the toxic waste, Negri Sembilan does not want it either.
"I asked the ministry to clarify if the statement by the Johor MB is true. It would be unfair to Negri Sembilan as we do not want to becomes victims," Cha said.
To this, Isnaraissah said that the ministry would not want this to happen.
"We are already facing the incident in Pasir Gudang and have no intention to transfer it to Negri Sembilan," she said.
On Sunday (March 17), Osman was reported to have said that a total of 450 metric tons of chemical waste materials had been cleared from the affected area in Pasir Gudang.
He added that the toxic waste, comprising 150 metric tons of river water and 300 metric tons of solid waste, would be incinerated at the Hazardous Waste Management Facility in Bukit Pelanduk, Seremban.