Four arrested over latest water pollution case in Selangor

The Selangor Water Management Authority said that the source of the pollution might be solvents that were found in Sungai Selangor.
The Selangor Water Management Authority said that the source of the pollution might be solvents that were found in Sungai Selangor.PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

KUALA LUMPUR • Malaysian police have arrested four suspects following the latest water pollution that shut down four water treatment plants in Selangor and leaving more than one million people in the Klang Valley with dry taps.

"Acting on the latest reports of water pollution, the police conducted arrests from midnight to early morning today," said Selangor Criminal Investigation Department chief Fadzil Ahmat in a statement yesterday, as quoted by The Star.

He said a 33-year-old Bangladeshi man and a Malaysian had stockpiled chemical materials at a rented plant in Rawang, Selangor. Police believe some of these chemicals were dumped into a manhole that flowed to the polluted area in Sungai Selangor, Senior Assistant Commissioner Fadzil said.

The suspects are being held on a seven-day remand for questioning, Malay Mail online news reported.

Selangor and the federal territories of Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya share the same water resources, including rivers and dams, treatment plants and distribution pipes.

Pollution affecting a river in Selangor would thus affect water supply to parts of the Klang Valley that includes Malaysia's capital city of KL, the administrative city of Putrajaya and Selangor districts.

Water company Pengurusan Air Selangor said yesterday that the four water treatment plants that were shut down on Tuesday have resumed operations. Water supply is expected to be fully restored by tomorrow.

Police found 40 barrels stored in the Rawang factory, containing about 1,000 litres of chemicals waiting for disposal.

"We won't rule out the possibility that after investigating this locality and the premises where the chemicals were dumped, that there could be elements of sabotage," said Gombak district's Assistant Commissioner Arifai Tarawe, as quoted by Malay Mail.

The latest water disruption came less than three weeks after the last water supply cut, and led to public anger all over again as people joined long queues to fetch supplies from water tankers sent to their housing estates.

There have been 10 unscheduled supply cuts this year alone in the Klang Valley.

The Selangor government has faced public pressure to shut the dozens of factories situated near rivers that supply water to the treatment plants, because recent incidents of pollution mostly originated from these plants.

The Selangor State Legislative Assembly on Monday passed legislation to raise punishment for river polluters, including a mandatory prison sentence upon conviction.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 12, 2020, with the headline 'Four arrested over latest water pollution case in Selangor'. Print Edition | Subscribe