Too Many Laws Governing Water Pollution. Have One Law; Abolish Others, says ADUN Subang Jaya

THERE are too many laws governing water pollution. Have one law, abolish others to avoid jurisdictional confusion during enforcement, ADUN Subang Jaya Michelle Ng said today.

She was responding to the announcement by Natural Resources, Environment and Climate Change Minister Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad that the Goverment was planning to make amendments to 𝐀𝐂𝐓 𝟔𝟓𝟓 𝐓𝐎 𝐈𝐍𝐂𝐑𝐄𝐀𝐒𝐄 𝐏𝐄𝐍𝐀𝐋𝐓𝐈𝐄𝐒 𝐀𝐆𝐀𝐈𝐍𝐒𝐓 𝐖𝐀𝐓𝐄𝐑 𝐏𝐎𝐋𝐋𝐔𝐓𝐄𝐑𝐒 𝐓𝐎 𝐁𝐄 𝐓𝐀𝐁𝐋𝐄𝐃 𝐈𝐍 𝐉𝐔𝐍𝐄 which he said would involve increasing the maximum fine from RM100,000 to RM10 million, while the prison sentence would be increased from one year to a maximum of 15 years.

“While I welcome Nik Nazmi’s announcement, there is a need to have only one law to protect our country’s precious water resources. The government should look at abolishing other related laws to avoid jurisdictional confusion during enforcement,” she said.

Michelle who is also the Chairwoman of the Select Committee on Selangor Water Resource said that apart from the amendment, all other existing legislation on water pollution which could be deemed to be in conflict should be relooked.

She said for Selangor, there are five legislation which needed to be looked at are:

(i) Akta Industri Perkhidmatan Air 2006;
(ii) Akta Kerajaan Tempatan 1967;
(iii) Akta Kualiti Alam Sekeliling 1974;
(iv) Kanun Keseksaan; dan
(v) Enakmen Lembaga Urus Air Selangor 1999.

“There is a need to check and revise these legislation to avoid any conflict in jurisdiction among governing investigating agencies.”

“Coordination is also needed to give clarity to the Attorney-General’s Office on which law that is relevant to be used,” she added.

Michelle said the implementation and enforcement of the law needs to be effective to avoid doubts.

“Investigations by the Selangor Water Resources Management Special Select Committee has found that the maximum fine of RM75,000 by the courts for river pollution is too low considering the impact of the pollution affects millions of consumers in the State.”

“Water treatment plants had to be shut down as a result of river pollution,” she added.

Michelle said the law needed to state the minimum fine/penalty meted out to polluters apart from the maximum fine.

She said the government also needed to address the manpower needs of agencies and equip them with the necessary equipment to carry out their efforts to curb river pollution, apart from upgrading the infrastructural needs.