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In the wake of several water supply disruptions due to pollution, the Water, Land and Natural Resources Ministry today signaled its intention to review the Water Services Industry Act 2006 (Wasia) and to impose heavier punishments on polluters. -- NSTP/ROHANIS SHUKRI.

KUALA LUMPUR: In the wake of several water supply disruptions due to pollution, the Water, Land and Natural Resources Ministry today signaled its intention to review the Water Services Industry Act 2006 (Wasia) and to impose heavier punishments on polluters.

Minister Dr A. Xavier Jayakumar said the current punishment of a RM10,000 fine or a year’s jail, or both, was not enough of a deterrent.

“RM10,000 is not enough, and a year’s jail term is also not enough.

“I will think about increasing both punishments, as well as the immediate close down of the factories that pollute water resources.

“It will take a bit of time for us to go through Wasia Act, but I think by next year, if everything goes as planned, we will be able to table it in Parliament by end of next year,” he said after launching the Malaysia International Water Convention 2019 (MIWC), here, today.

Xavier said he had instructed the National Water Services Commission (SPAN) and Indah Water Konsortium Sdn Bhd (IWK) to be more thorough in their investigations and to conduct stricter enforcement.

He said he also planned to get the private sector involved in the water industry as the Federal Government could not be the only one responsible for pumping funds into the industry.

He also advised industrial players to change their systems and attitude in disposing of waste water.

“We have come to the stage where we cannot tolerate the discharge of raw waste water into the main streams.

“If you are caught, you are going to pay a heavy price.

“Let it be a warning to anyone who thinks they can get away with it.

“We are now having more systems in order to monitor and find the sites (waste dumping),” he said.

Asked whether sabotage could be involved, the minister said: “The element of sabotage is for the police to investigate and to come up with evidence. It is something we have to look at,” he added.

Last week, Pengurusan Air Selangor Sdn Bhd (Air Selangor) announced a water supply cut affecting 372,031 households in Petaling, Hulu Langat, Kuala Langat and Sepang districts in Selangor due to foul odour in Sungai Semenyih.

Prior to this, there was another odour pollution incident involving the raw water source in Sungai Semenyih in June.

In July, odour pollution was also detected in the raw water source in Sungai Selangor and later in the same month, diesel contamination was detected in the water source in Sungai Selangor, which resulted in the shutdown of four water treatment plants. - Bernama

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