Stiffer penalties for water polluters, says Xavier

  • Nation
  • Tuesday, 28 Jan 2020

PUTRAJAYA: The Water Services Industry Act 2006 will be amended to impose harsher penalties to punish water polluters, says Dr Xavier Jayakumar.

The Water, Land and Natural Resources Minister said the amendment would also give authorities power to arrest individuals.

“The ministry views the act of polluting our waters through dumping of toxic wastes as a serious matter.

“It is an irresponsible act as it not only affects the welfare of the people, but it also hampers the country’s economy.

“The Water Services Industry Act 2006 will be amended to enhance the aspects of enforcement.

“We are targeting for this amendment to be tabled by the October parliamentary session.

“Among the aspects that will be beefed up include the power to seize vehicles and to arrest individuals who are suspected of polluting our waters. Penalties will also be increased,” said Dr Xavier at a press conference here on Tuesday (Jan 28).

The minister said the existing provisions in the Act were not strong enough to be able to truly punish perpetrators.

“Unless we can catch these perpetrators in the act red handed, it is a bit difficult to nab them.

“So we need to come up with new ways to ensure the laws can be used to punish these perpetrators severely,” said Dr Xavier.

The minister was speaking after chairing a meeting with a newly-formed Water Pollution Action and Monitoring Committee.

Chaired by Dr Xavier, the committee consists of representatives from the Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Ministry, International Trade and Industry Ministry, Housing and Local Government Ministry, the police, the Department of Environment, Road Transport Department and the National Water Services Commission.

“The role of this committee is to coordinate the cooperation between agencies that are involved in enforcement in order to ensure there is uniformity in the country’s management of water,” said Dr Xavier.

Recently, Selangor was hit by several incidents of water pollution which led to disruption in water supply in the state.

Last December, the Sungai Semenyih water treatment plant was forced to cease operations due to the odour pollution, which was caused by illegal disposal of solvent into a manhole in Bandar Bukit Mahkota.

Following the closure, over 1.7 million residents of Putrajaya, Petaling, Hulu Langat, Kuala Langat and Sepang suffered from water supply cuts.

In July, diesel contamination was detected in Sungai Selangor, causing the shut down of four water treatment plants.

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