SHAH ALAM: The Selangor state water resources special selection committee (JPK-SAS) is recommending an increase in fines and making jail term mandatory on offenders found guilty of water pollution.
“The committee is recommending that the fines be set at a minimum of RM200,000 to a maximum of RM1mil for all the related acts and enactments, ” said committee chairman Michelle Ng (pic) during a press conference at the state assembly building in Shah Alam on Thursday (July 16).
“We are also recommending that the jail term be mandatory, as that is presently subject to the judge’s discretion, ” she said.
Ng said the committee felt these were necessary to serve as a deterrent to offenders and avoid a recurrence of water pollution incidents in future.
“The committee today tabled its first statement on pollution of water resources resulting in unscheduled shutdown of water treatment plants and emergency water supply, ” she said.
“This is based on seven pollution incidents that happened between 2018 until now, which resulted in unscheduled disruptions at water treatment plants and caused disruptions in water supply services of up to about 25 days.
“The committee, after a closed-door meeting with the relevant agencies in May, is presenting 38 recommendations.
“The recommendations that are legal-related can be implemented immediately, as these do not have any financial implications.
“We also urge the Federal Government to make similar amendments to the Environmental Quality Act 1974, Local Government Act 1976 and Water Services Industry Act 2006, ” she said.
“The amendments to these Acts are necessary as the existing fines are too low and offenders may not fear the legal implications, ” she said.
Ng said the existing fines on water pollution-related incidents ranged from RM2,000 to RM5,000 under different sections of the Local Government Act, and about RM500,000 under different sections of the Environmental Quality Act.
“We feel that the recommended maximum fine of RM1mil is necessary, as the money could be used for the clean-up exercise, ” she said.
“For example, it cost about RM500,000 to clean up the incident in Bandar Mahkota Cheras in September last year.”
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