ISKANDAR PUTERI: The Johor government will appeal against the Johor Baru Sessions Court's decision to fine a company RM320,000 for polluting Sungai Kim Kim in Pasir Gudang.
Johor housing and local government committee chairman Datuk Mohd Jafni Md Shukor said that Sungai Kim Kim was one of 14 polluted rivers in the state that have now recovered to the Class 3 category.
"The court decision to sentence the company behind the pollution incident to a RM320,000 fine is something that we believe might need to be reviewed.
"The government will make a plea to the Deputy Public Prosecutor to see if the sentence equals what the government has spent and the effect the incident has caused to nearby residents.
"The issue of river pollution in Johor is something that the state government takes seriously. We have about 14 rivers that are considered polluted, including Sungai Kim Kim," he said when met by reporters after the state assembly sitting held at Bangunan Sultan Ismail, Kota Iskandar here on Sunday (Dec 3).
Mohd Jafni, who is also the Johor river committee co-chairman, said that it was time for the government to have stricter enforcement to protect the environment.
"The committee was introduced in August this year and is co-chaired by me and Johor tourism, environment, heritage, and culture committee chairman K. Raven Kumar.
"Monthly meetings are conducted to oversee river clean-up operations statewide," he said, adding that the committee is also joined by the Drainage and Irrigation Department, local councils, district offices, the Environment Department, the Johor Water Regulatory Body (Bakaj) and Plan Malaysia.
In a statement earlier on Saturday, the Environment Department said that a lorry driver was fined RM100,000 for causing pollution by illegally disposing scheduled waste into Sungai Kim Kim, Pasir Gudang in 2019.
It added that P Tech Resources Sdn Bhd, which faced eight charges under the Environmental Quality (Clean Air) Regulations 2014, was also fined RM40,000 for each charge, making it a total of RM320,000.
The pollution incident in March 7, 2019 affected the health of more than 2,000 people and caused 111 schools in Pasir Gudang to close.
Some 947 victims received treatment at the Sultan Ismail Hospital, nine of whom erequired intensive care.