Bar calls for tough action on water polluters

16 Jun 2019 / 12:08 H.

PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Bar has expressed concern over the frequency and severity of water pollution incidents in the country.

It said contamination of water sources must be regarded as a threat to national security and well-being, and must be dealt with urgently and with utmost seriousness.

On March 7, news broke out about the industrial pollution in Sungai Kim Kim in Johor, which reportedly affected the health of almost 6,000 people.

A week later, the Selangor Water Management Authority reported that pollution believed to have been caused by chemical waste had been detected in the Klang River, it pointed out.

“The Malaysian Bar is also concerned that water pollution reportedly may have contributed to the illness and death that have befallen the Batek Orang Asli community in Kuala Koh, Kelantan,” its president Abdul Fareed Abdul Gafoor (pix) said in a statement.

“The government must spare no effort in uncovering the cause of, and resolving, the problem, as the welfare and even lives of these indigenous people are at stake.”

He urged the authorities to look into the needs of the Orang Asli — in the Batek and other communities — and take measures to increase Orang Asli empowerment and self-determination.

“In doing so, the dignity of the Orang Asli must be fully respected, including their right to free, prior and informed consent as well as their right to prior and effective consultation at every stage of the process, in compliance with international best practices on indigenous and human rights,” he said.

“It is disheartening to note that environmental pollution by industries continues to be prevalent, despite the existence of legislation to counter this menace.”

The Bar calls urged the government to take immediate action to ensure the effective enforcement of environmental laws in order to curb activities that have adverse and irreversible effects on the environment as well as the health of present and future generations of all Malaysians.

“The government is under a fiduciary duty to protect and preserve the environment, and to ensure that the full force of the law is brought to bear on all wrongdoers,” Abdul Fareed added.

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