KUALA LUMPUR: The Sessions Court here has denied bail to four brothers who claimed trial to charges of river pollution that led to a water supply disruption affecting some 1.2 million people in the Klang Valley earlier this month.Yip Kok Wai, 52; Yip Kok Mun, 58; Yip Kok Kuin, 50; Yip Kok Weng, 60, who are directors of a company, and manager Ho Voon Leong, 59, pleaded not guilty to the charges under Section 430 of the Penal Code and Section 25 of the Environmental Quality Act.The five were jointly charged with discharging waste without a licence into the irrigation near the Yip Chee Seng & Sons Sdn Bhd workshop in Rawang, Gombak, between Sept 2 and 3 which led to pollution of Sungai Gong.
Judge Syafeera Said refused to grant bail despite a passionate plea by lawyers Datuk M Reza Hassan and Abdul Rashid Ismail, including offering to post RM100,000 for each of their clients.
“My clients are over 50 years old and categorised in the Covid-19 high-risk group, and at risk of infection if kept in prison,” Abdul Rashid said, citing the recent Covid-19 outbreak at a prison in Sabah as an example.
The offences were non-bailable, but the court could exercise discretion to grant bail, he said.
Reza also refuted previous reports that this was the second time since March that his clients had allegedly polluted the river.
“To say that it is their second offence is not accurate and misleading as it was a compound and not the same as the present charge under Section 430.
“The compound was reduced from RM60,000 to RM26,000 for non-compliance of standard operation procedure such as labelling of barrels and employing untrained workers,” he said.
In response, Deputy Public Prosecutor Mohamad Iskandar Ahmad reminded Syafeera that the alleged crime caused hardship to more than a million residents in the Klang Valley who were forced to endure five days of water cuts.
“This is the sixth time that there was water disruption in the state where five were due to river pollution,” he said.
He suggested a RM2mil bail for each of the accused if the court were to grant bail.
Syafeera fixed Oct 27 for mention.
If convicted under Section 430, they face a jail sentence of not less than five years and not more than 30 years, a fine or both. If convicted under Section 25, they face a fine not exceeding RM100,000, a jail sentence not exceeding five years or both.
Meanwhile, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission chief commissioner Datuk Seri Azam Baki confirmed that investigation papers had been opened on the Sungai Gong pollution case.
“I cannot divulge the full details but we are currently scrutinising it and looking at several issues under our purview,” he told reporters attending the “Corporate Liability – Are You At Risk Forum” yesterday.
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