SPAN conducted 560 probes over nine months

KUALA LUMPUR: A total of 560 investigations were conducted by the National Waters Services Commission (SPAN) from January to September, while 17 site investigations were conducted on potential pollution cases that caused water disruptions.

These came to light as unscheduled water cuts and river pollution became the focus after 14 MPs questioned the Environment Ministry during the Oral Question time in Parliament.

The queries were centred on whether action was taken against companies which caused pollution, and the ministry’s plans to prevent unscheduled water cuts.

The issue was raised by Datuk Seri Hasan Ariffin (BN-Rompin), Nik Mohamad Abduh Nik Abdul Aziz (PAS-Bachok), Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid (BN-Padang Terap), Datuk Hasbullah Osman (BN-Gerik), Datuk Fasiah Mohd Fakeh (PN-Sabak Bernam), Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang (PAS-Marang), Wan Hassan Mohd Ramli (PAS-Dungun), and Che Alias Hamid (PAS-Kemaman).

Opposition MPs who raised the issue were William Leong (PH-Selayang), Datuk Seri Salahuddin Ayub (PH-Pulai), Maria Chin Abdullah (PH-Petaling Jaya), Fong Kui Lun (PH-Bukit Bintang), Fuziah Salleh (PH-Kuantan), and Yeo Bee Yin (PH-Bakri).

According to Environment Minister Datuk Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man, the Environment Department conducted 17,445 inspections between Jan 1 and Sept 30 on premises under the purview of the Environment Qualities Act 1974.

He also said legal action had been taken on 636 premises found violating laws concerning water pollution.

Between Jan 1 and Sept 30, a total of 61 premises were fined for scheduled waste management offences, said Tuan Ibrahim.

“Those responsible have been remanded by the police for further investigations and they will be charged in court, ” he added.

Tuan Ibrahim also said that amendments to the Water Industry Act and the Environment Quality Act are in the process of obtaining approval from the Cabinet next month.

He said the proposed amendments will see heavier penalties for crimes against the environment.

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