KOTA BHARU – A fine of up to RM15 million is being proposed for those found guilty of committing scheduled waste pollution.
Environment and Water Minister Datuk Seri Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man said this was among the proposed amendments to the Environmental Quality Act 1974 that was currently being reviewed.
He said heavier penalties were needed as the existing amount of compound provided under the act was too low.
“We want to increase the fine amount up to RM15 million and also imposes mandatory imprisonment.
“This is because, in the event of pollution, we have to suspend the operation of water treatment plants and water operators have to deploy water tankers to provide water supply to residents.
“They have to bear millions of ringgit in cost to provide water supply while the plants were being suspended although the pollution was caused by other quarters,” Tuan Ibrahim told reporters after officiating the Kelantan-level work ballot draw ceremony under the ministry’s allocation here, today.
Currently, Section 34B of the Environmental Quality Act 1974 states that no person shall place, deposit or dispose of any scheduled wastes on land or into Malaysian waters, except at prescribed premises, without any prior written approval of the Director-General of Environment.
Anyone found guilty of violating the law is liable to a fine of not exceeding RM500,000 or to imprisonment of not exceeding five years or both.
Tuan Ibrahim said the amendments to the Environmental Quality Act 1974 was expected to be tabled in the next Parliament sitting.
Trees to be planted
Meanwhile in another development, a million trees will be planted in the Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Labuan in phases, beginning this year until 2025, under the Malaysia Greening Programme themed Green Region, Sustainable Region.
Federal Territories Minister Tan Sri Annuar Musa said under the programme which is based on the concept of urban forest and flowering city, Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) aims to plant 500,000 trees, Putrajaya Corporation 400,000 trees and Labuan Corporation 100,000 trees.
“Planting a million trees will be able to produce 117 tonnes of oxygen and reduce 22 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year.
“This greening initiative will ensure that there is sustainable development and the country’s natural resources are maintained to achieve the goal of making the Federal Territory a low carbon, green city,” he said in a statement here, today.
Annuar said in the early stages towards this direction, DBKL would focus on planting trees near seven lakes and ponds in the northern part of the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur, to make the sites a passive and active recreational centre.
He said for a start, 100 trees would be planted in the Batu Dam area and six other locations that have been identified were Taman Tasik Metropolitan Kepong, Tasik Intan Baiduri, Kolam 99 and Kolam Seri Murni, Kolam Nanyang, Kolam Taman Wahyu and Taman Tasik Metropolitan.
Among the woody stem trees to be planted are the Bunga Sakura Malaysia (Tekoma), Putat Laut, Bintangor Laut (Penaga Laut), Golden Shower Tree, Kelat Jambu Laut, and Flame of the Forest.
“Other trees include the Casia Biflora, Tembusu Padang, Pokok Merawan Siput Jantan, Penaga Lilin, Pokok Bunga Tanjung, Pokok Kasa and several other species which are suitable with the landscape of the areas,” he said.
At the same time, Annuar said the ministry and DBKL were also considering to extend the cycling route to the areas around the seven lakes up to Kuala Lumpur Forest Eco Park, thus giving the public access to 62.5 kilometres of cycling.