Hefty penalties await river polluters after Selangor Assembly passes Bill

SHAH ALAM (Bernama): The Selangor State Legislative Assembly has passed the Lembaga Urus Air Selangor (LUAS) (Amendment) 2020 Bill to enhance the existing provisions including the legal and enforcement actions.

The Bill to amend some sections of the LUAS Enactment 1999 was tabled by Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Amirudin Shari, who is also Sungai Tua assemblyman, last Friday (Nov 6).

It was unanimously approved following the debate involving nine assemblymen from the ruling government and three from the opposition.

Amirudin said the amendments to the enactment were to ensure that appropriate efforts and actions could be taken in a comprehensive manner to curb the problem of river pollution, hence protecting the state’s water sources.

"From what I could see, all the Honourable Members agreed to give their full support and in fact, are just waiting for the amendments to the LUAS Enactment 1999 to be implemented.

"To amend this enactment, it has to be viewed together with Section 121 of the Water Services Industry Act 2006, Section 430 of the Penal Code and the Environmental Quality Act 1974 to enable us to fully comprehend it, and that it does not exceed the limits of the existing laws, ” he said when winding up the debate on the Bill at the state assembly sitting here Monday (Nov 9).

The LUAS Enactment 1999 which was gazetted on May 20,1999 has never been amended since it was enforced over 20 years ago.

Among the amendments made to the enactment are the inclusion of the offence of causing odour and taste water pollution, mandatory jail sentence, raising the fine to a minimum of RM200,000 and up to RM1mil, giving the director or enforcement official the power to make seizures without a warrant, polluters to pay for the cleaning cost to LUAS and giving it the power to offer a reward to informants.

The amendments also empower LUAS to impose charges for taking extra water from the sources so as to prevent wastage.

LUAS can demand compensation for the cost of keeping the seized assets, and improving the procedure of issuing directives to the public authorities to take protection and conservation measures for the affected water sources. - Bernama

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