Govt to form environmental crime unit to tackle pollution issues


KUALA SELANGOR: The Environment and Water Ministry (KASA) will form an Environmental Crime Unit in the near future to help address pollution issues, said its Minister Datuk Seri Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man.

He said that the move would involve the cooperation of the Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM) and the Malaysian Armed Forces (MAF) in coordinating operations with KASA enforcement agencies.

Tuan Ibrahim also said that he has discussed the matter with Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, who is also Defence Minister.

“I will also discuss with the Home Minister (Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin) on the coordination of these joint actions between KASA enforcement agencies, MAF and PDRM.

“The Defence Minister has agreed in principle for KASA to be placed under the security sector, as water and environmental issues are seen as potentially affecting national security, especially the economy and people’s well-being in the event of any disaster,” he said at a press conference after visiting the Sungai Selangor Water Treatment Plant Phase 1 (SSP1) here yesterday.

Through the unit’s operations, police involvement would be concentrated on enforcement, with inspections to be carried out by KASA enforcement personnel on factories, to prevent untoward incidents, he said.

He said that the Department of Environment (DOE) and the National Water Services Commission (SPAN) are preparing two investigation papers regarding the water pollution incidents in Sungai Selangor last week, which are expected to be completed by Friday.

Tuan Ibrahim said that his ministry would also expedite the amendments to the two acts and planned to table them at the next parliamentary session.

In the meantime, he said that the government will also look at the implementation of the Projek Takungan Air Pinggiran Sungai (TAPS) to be more widely used as an alternative raw water source in the event of any river pollution incident.

He said that KASA also plans to place five monitoring stations in 20 major rivers to monitor water quality in ‘real time’ in the future so that early warnings can be given to expedite enforcement by DOE and SPAN in the event of pollution.

“KASA will submit a proposal paper to the Cabinet on this initiative to ensure that raw water resources are not polluted, thus causing water supply disruptions,” he added. — Bernama