The Association of Water and Energy Research Malaysia (AWER) has urged the government to introduce an enabler clause in the existing Environmental Quality Act to allow parties affected by water cuts to claim compensation and ultimately drive polluters to bankruptcy.
Speaking to The Star, its president S. Piarapakaran said this is the only way to put an end to the frequent water cuts that residents in Selangor experience, in addition to harsher penalties.
“When the government is pursuing a case against wrongdoers, all parties can act along because there is a case and they can claim compensation together, once proven as victims,” he said.
He also pointed out that at present, businesses affected by the water cuts could only sue polluters via a civil suit, which would take time.
“So, it becomes a simplified process and the impact to wrongdoers will be bigger because people are claiming for loss of income.”
“These sorts of claims can be imposed on top of existing penalties on polluters so that if they were to pollute, the result is that they will go bankrupt,” he added.
Piarapakaran said the current Environmental Quality Act was inadequate as penalties were too low for those who are convicted of polluting the environment.
Currently, Section 27 of the Environmental Quality Act states that a conviction could result in a fine of up to RM100,000 or imprisonment of a maximum of five years or both.
“There needs to be strong economic punishment. Otherwise, they are not going to be afraid. Polluters pollute because they want to save cost. Waste treatment is a cost, and hoodwinking the authorities and polluting will save them some cost,” he added.
This came after Air Selangor announced a water cut that affected 472 areas in the state on the second day of Hari Raya due to odour pollution being detected at the Jenderam Hilir raw water pump station.
This was the second unscheduled water disruption since last Saturday (30 April).
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