Despite living in the tropics, water disruptions has become part and parcel of our daily lives and it is due to man-made pollutions and often the culprits gets away with light or no punishments. Image source: Photo by PS Photography from Pexels
If you have not been keeping up with the news from Malaysia, a few days ago, major contamination caused the shutdown of 4 water treatment plants causing water disruption to almost 1.2 million users. This is nothing new if you ask as we have been having water disruptions due to polluters for some time now.
Last year, we have water disruptions and that lasted for almost a week and personally many were pissed off and wanted to hang the polluters who caused the water disruptions up high by piano wires by their neck. Life is tough but is tougher when you have a family and small kids who need to use water more often.
It is happening all over again although my residential area was spared from the water disruptions this time. This time around they have identified the culprit and swift actions have been taken against them.
Selangor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Amirudin Shari said today that the offending factory in Rawang that cause the contaminate that resulted in water disruption affecting the state will be asked to leave the area in the next few months.
Amirudin said the factory does own the land on which it is situated but does not have the planning and development approval to erect the building.
“On Monday the District and Land Office will send the 7A Notice for them to ‘recover’ the land,” he told the press here.
And to add the bite of the punishing the offender, criminal charges have also been raised by the police:-
Four factory managers suspected to be involved in the water pollution incident of Sungai Gong, Rawang has been remanded for six days beginning today.
Selangor police chief Datuk Noor Azam Jamaludin told Bernama today, the suspects, aged between 50 and 60 would be remanded until next Thursday for further investigation.
Noor Azam said three of the suspects were detained at their homes in Selayang at about 11.20 pm last night while one suspect was arrested when he reported at the Gombak district police station with his lawyer at 12.30 am later that night.
The case is being investigated according to Section 430 of the Penal Code and all the suspects were brought to the Gombak district police headquarters for further investigation.
Section 430 of the Penal Code states:-
Whoever commits mischief by doing any act which causes, or which he knows to be likely to cause, a diminution of the supply of water for agricultural purposes, or for food or drink for human beings or for animals which are property, or for cleanliness, or for carrying on any manufacture, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term of not less than five years and not more than thirty years or with fine or with both.
If you are staying on the 4th floor of an apartment and there is no working lift, imagine how tough it will be carrying water up and down the 4 floors and had to do that before the water tanker runs out of water. Image source: NST
If you think 30 years of imprisonment for knowingly releasing pollution into the rivers, just think about all the trouble these morons have caused, not only to the millions of residents who had to live without water for days but also caused a big waste of taxpayers money considering the State Government have to mobilise extra resources to clean up the pollution mess, to mobilise water tankers and provide extra water storage in many key areas.
Of course, there is denial from the accused offenders:-
Pollution led to the shutdown of four water treatment plants and disrupted water supply to more than one million people in Klang Valley last Friday.
The family’s spokesman, Yip Siew Thong, said they did not have a hand in the pollution of the river.
“My father’s company has always adhered to the law in respect of the environment and would never commit the unthinkable which would cause pollution,” Siew Thong said, adding that the company has been operating at the site for more than 10 years.
The storage yard was sealed by the Department of Environment on Thursday on suspicion of releasing pollutants into Sungai Gong.
And it is also good that the State and Federal Government is considering the increase of the punishment to polluters so that they will think twice before taking the easy way out of releasing the pollution into the rivers.
The Selangor state government will table a motion at the state assembly seating in October to increase the fine for water polluters to RM1 million.
Selangor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Amirudin Shari said the state has agreed to amend the Selangor Water Management Authority (LUAS) enactment to deter future polluters.
Under the current LUAS Enactment of 1999, anyone caught polluting the water is currently liable to a fine not exceeding RM100,000 or imprisonment for a period not exceeding three years or both and a further fine of RM300,00 for each day that the offence is continued after a notice by the director requiring compliance has been served.
This is the problem with the country – it is not like we had first water disruption caused by man-made pollution now. We have been having water disruptions due to pollution almost on a yearly basis with some years, having multiple water disruptions.
But why only now the Government wants to gets tougher with these polluters? Didn’t the people suffer enough whenever these polluters take the easy step by releasing chemicals and sewage into the rivers?
The other problem is lack of enforcement and monitoring – a fine not exceeding RM100,000 or imprisonment for a period not exceeding three years is not a light punishment.
But then again, why we are having recurring issues of water disruptions. In relation to the recent water pollution incident, what is even more revealing lack of enforcement:-
A factory here suspected of having caused pollution in Sungai Gong has been found to have been operating without a license since 2014, the Selayang Municipal Council said today.
The council’s corporate department director, Mohamad Zin Masoad, said data showed that the factory had never applied for a license since it started operating six years ago.
“We have issued the latest notice to them in March but they ignored it. Besides operating without a license, we also found that the factory was built without MPS (municipal council) permission,” he said after putting up a notice of an illegal structure at the factory here, today.
At least now, the karma starts to bite back this time…