For the umpteenth time, the Petaling district in Selangor have to face waterless days because someone decided the rivers are the best place to dump chemical wastes. What has the Selangor state government done about it? Apart from blaming the Department of Environment, the Menteri Besar, Azmin Ali has done nothing.
Investigation by the Selangor water authority has traced the pollution to its source and not only have taken water samples from the alleged source, but even named the source. Yet, Azmin chose to blame the Department of Environment for being slow in acting against the perpetrator citing that the Selangor Water Management Board has no authority to act.
Therefore, let me introduce this seemingly alien State Enactment to the clueless Menteri Besar:
There are powers accorded to the Board that the state government. Section 40(1) of the Enactment states that the Board has the responsibility to arrange and control all water resources. This includes buffer development, the management, use and the conservation of water sources while Section 41(3)(d) the Board is allowed to take whatever steps deemed necessary to protect water from contamination and the improvement of its quality. Which part of the Enactment that is not clear to either the Members of the Board, or Azmin himself?
Section 43(2) of the said Enactment empowers the Director of the Board to instruct by writing any activity, work, structure or building that is located within the flood zones, river reserves, or coastal areas that the Director deems to cause the degradation in quantity of water flow, quality of water, or to cause pollution to improvise or stop the activity, or to modify or to relocate the building. The Director even has the power to enter such premises at any time and inspect as given by Section 43(3).
I have, in different previous posts (Water, Water Everywhere dated 28th October 2011 and Water, Water Everywhere Part 2 dated 4th November 2011), pointed out the need to protect the water catchment areas. The value chain starts at water catchment areas and therefore it is imperative that state governments take steps to protect these areas by gazetting them under a specific Act for Water Catchment Areas, and not as it is now, under the Forestry Act. We often find water resources polluted by human activities in these areas such as logging (legal and illegal), farming, plantation, manufacturing, animal husbandry and indiscriminate dumping of rubbish despite having these areas gazetted under the Forestry Act.
Lo! And behold! The power had already been given to the Board through Section 48 of the Enactment which you can read below (unless you are one of those who criticised Zahid Hamidi for his poor command of the English language while you cannot even speak in Bahasa Malaysia despite holding a Malaysian Identity Card):
So, what are you waiting for, Azmin? Why are you still playing the blame game? This is the effect of the incompetency of the Pakatan government that politicises every single thing that has now caused misery to hundreds of thousands of water account holders in Selangor. And not only that, the arrogance of biblical proportions that your Executive Councillors and you have make you think that you have the right to play with the lives of those in need of water such as at the Serdang Hospital that had had to declare an emergency for being in dire need of treated water supply.
Since being given the power to administrate, the Pakatan-led state government of Selangor has given the rakyat nothing but excuse upon excuse to NOT solve its water woes. Starting with saying that there would be enough water and the Langat 2 Water Treatment Plant is not needed and one suggested by a Pakatan-suporter that there are better alternatives to the Langat 2 WTP. Yet, nothing was done to solve the problem. And only in February 2014 that the state government conceded that the Langat 2 WTP is needed after all, a realisation that caused former Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim his job as the rest of his administration and also party office holders did not subscribe to his view.
The Pakatan-led state government should pull its act together and stop giving excuses when it is empowered to protect water sources. If it does not have the political will to do so, make way for the party that would.