Selangor Menteri Besar Amirudin Shari today said any additional form of punishment for those who contaminate water resources is under the purview of the federal government through the Environment Quality Act 1974.
He added that the state government had limited powers under the Selangor Water Management Board Enactment 1999 to punish offenders.
“The Environment Quality Act 1974 has a much larger jurisdiction to increase penalties (against environmental polluters) such as whipping or imprisonment as well as seizure or forfeiture.
“Even the power to charge is not under the state government, but on the Attorney-General’s Chambers’ side,” he told reporters after opening the Selangor state budget dialogue session in Shah Alam.
However, he said the state government would amend provisions in the Selangor Water Management Board Enactment in the state legislative sitting in October to increase the maximum fine for polluters in the state from RM500,000 to RM1 million.
He was commenting on calls for stiffer punishments for environmental offenders either through amendments to the current act or the enactment of new laws.
Four water treatment plants at Sungai Selangor were forced to stop operations last week due to odour pollution in the Sungai Gong industrial area in Rawang. This caused an unscheduled disruption in water supply for 1.2 million account holders in the Klang Valley.
Amirudin also apologised on behalf of his wife who had posted photos on her Instagram account of a tanker from Air Selangor sending water to their official residence on Saturday.
He said his wife, Masdiana Muhamad, had done so to express appreciation to the utilities company for sending water to their house.
“The picture was used by certain parties to attack me,” he said, adding that his wife had since apologised.