Malaysia: Joint task force to fight river pollution

ALLISON LAI The Star 27 Oct 16;

SHAH ALAM: A joint task force will be formed by the Federal Government and Selangor state administration to tackle river contamination issues.

Natural Resources and Environ­ment Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said both have to step out of their silos and start working together whenever incidents such as the contamination of Sungai Semenyih occur.

“We must work together tackling issues like this.

“This is what we have agreed to in principle.

“Details on the formation of the task force will be finalised by ministry and state officials soon,” he said after an hour-long meeting with Selangor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali here yesterday.

Also present during the meeting were Selangor exco member Elizabeth Wong, Department of Environment (DoE) director-general Datuk Ahmad Kamarulnajuib Che Ibrahim and his deputy Datuk Seri Dr Azimuddin Bahari.

Dr Wan Junaidi said the task force would see close and long-term collaboration between the DoE, local councils and the Selangor Water Management Board.

“All these agencies will work together so that whenever a situation crops up, they will come together as a team and do their job, as past incidents of river contamination also involved Pahang and Negri Sembilan.

“Therefore cooperation between the Pahang and Negri Sembilan DoE must also be formed, although the focus is on Sungai Semenyih now,” he said.

Dr Wan Junaidi also noted that all investigation results, findings and evidence by the Selangor state administration on river contamination would be submitted to the DoE for inclusion with findings acquired from other departments.

This, he said, would enable a joint probe to be carried out so that punitive action could be taken against those responsible.

Azmin said the investigation papers on Sungai Semenyih’s contamination have been completed by the DoE.

“I was told that the papers will be submitted to the Attorney-General’s Chambers soon for legal action to be taken.

“We are gathering evidence on the river contamination in Pahang and Negri Sembilan, and will be sending them to the DoE with all other findings,” he said.

Describing the meeting as positive and successful, he said the joint task force was the way forward to combating river contamination, which he says cannot not be solved by just one party.

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