KUALA LUMPUR: The Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry (MOSTI) has acknowledged that the punishment for those found polluting water resources has been found wanting and there is a need for stiffer penalties.
Its Minister Khairy Jamaluddin recommended the relevant ministry to propose a heavier punishment towards those found guilty with polluting natural resources such as water.
He was referring to the odour pollution at Sungai Selangor, causing massive water disruption affecting Kuala Lumpur and six districts in Selangor.
The malodourous effluent polluting Sungai Selangor has been traced to a machinery maintenance factory in Rawang, which had been ordered to close earlier today.
Water resources which is a state prerogative comes under the Water and Environment Ministry at the federal and is headed by Datuk Seri Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man.
"The punishment for those who pollute is not enough.
"I think the ministries involved should discuss to increase the penalty for those who pollute the water resources as this effects millions of Malaysians out there.
"Imagine one factory can cause this much damage," Khairy said after launching the Social Impact Matching (SIM) grant by Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Centre (MaGIC) at Pusat Sains Negara here, today.
Khairy's calls echoed former Water, Land and Natural Resources Minister Dr A. Xavier Jayakumar's suggestion to review the Water Services Industry Act 2006 (Wsia) and to impose stiffer penalty on polluters as the current punishment of a RM10,000 fine or a year's jail, or both, was not enough of a deterrent.
The former minister also referred to several water supply disruptions due to pollution, last year.
On Thursday, Selangor Environment, Green Technology, Science and Consumer Affairs Committee chairman Hee Loy Sian said a preliminary investigation by the Selangor Water Management Authority (Luas) found that the Rawang factory had failed to store oil waste according to conditions set.
Khairy said the Malaysian Chemistry Department is currently analysing raw water samples taken from the Sungai Selangor affected by the odour pollution.
The water samples were retrieved from the Environment Department, LUAS and the Health Ministry.
"The Department of Chemistry is currently analysing on the Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) for the four samples from the Health Ministry, and Hydrocarbon VOC for the four samples from LUAS and on the scheduled waste from Environment Department," he said.
Khairy also added the results of the analysis will be done within the next couple of days by the Chemistry Department due to the severity of the case.
The results will be handed over to the Environment Department for further action.