Malaysia aims to pull the plug on water pollution with comprehensive Bill

A polluted ditch at a dumpsite near a prawn farm at Jenjarom, Klang, outside Kuala Lumpur. PHOTO: NANDAKUMAR S. HARIDAS/GREENPEACE

PUTRAJAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The Water, Land and Natural Resources Ministry is drafting a uniform and comprehensive Water Resource Bill in a bid to clamp down on water pollution.

Its Minister Dr Xavier Jayakumar said the Bill will be used by all states to enhance the management, control and enforcement of their water resources.

It will also guide discussions and coordination on issues involving water resources that are shared by two or more states, as pollution is harder to tackle when it involves multiple states.

"This Bill requires the support and acceptance of all state governments to ensure that issues such as river pollution can be handled uniformly and and effectively.

The Kuala Langat MP said the Bill was among the initiatives taken by the government to address the problem of water resource pollution throughout the country.

He was responding to a front page report by BH Ahad, which on Sunday (April 28) highlighted the lack of effort to save or rehabilitate more than 20 class 3 rivers, which are polluted and require intensive treatment. Dr Xavier said the Department of Irrigation and Drainage (DID) had built facilities to treat river water and had installed log booms at several locations on main rivers.

"Non-structural approaches were also taken such as launching the Integrated River Basin Management (IRBM) strategy, which is aimed at ensuring water is adequate and clean, decreasing flood risks and improving environmental conservation," he added.

The DID has also introduced voluntary river rehabilitation programmes with non-governmental organisations (NGOs), community groups and commercial entities, said Dr Xavier.

"All states have their own laws regarding water resources including on prohibition of pollution.

"The cooperation of the state government in carrying out law enforcement or state enactments is crucial in protecting rivers in those states," he said.

Dr Xavier added that all stakeholders must be involved in efforts to conserve and preserve the quality of river water as there were adverse consequences should water resources continue to be polluted.

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