KUALA LUMPUR - The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) has called for an effective enforcement of laws including stiffer penalties on perpetrators of water pollution in order to protect the people's right to clean water.
In a statement, Suhakam said it noted that the Selangor government has taken action against the alleged factory responsible for the recent water pollution in the Sungai Selangor.
"However, Suhakam is also concerned that the laws, namely the Water Services Industry Act 2006 and the Environmental Quality Act 1974 had not been successfully enforced to protect public health and the environment.
"The recurring water pollution shows that critical gaps in these laws remain to be addressed," Suhakam said.
Suhakam also calls on the government to realise its commitment to ensure access to clean water for its people through effective enforcement of the existing laws.
It adds that the government should also review the laws and policies in order to allow for stern action against the perpetrators of water pollution.
Suhakam further pointed out all member states of the United Nations including Malaysia have adopted the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015 that ultimately aimed to improve the lives and prospects of everyone around the world, in which Goal 6 of the SDGs is to ensure clean water and sanitation for all.
"The recurrent water pollution over the years has led to frequent disruption of water supply. The recent water pollution in the Selangor river has caused disrupted access to water for people in 1,292 areas in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor.
"This has posed various challenges to the people in the country in gaining access to clean water especially for those who cannot afford to buy bottled water while waiting for the water supply to be restored.
"Vulnerable groups including older persons and pregnant women may also face difficulties in accessing water supply distributed via the water tank trucks especially those who live in flats without elevators."
Suhakam also stressed that business entities should respect and protect human rights in the conduct of their activities.
On Thursday, Air Selangor had stopped the operations at its Sungai Selangor Water Treatment Plant Phase 1, 2, and 3 and the Rantau Panjang Water Treatment Plant due to industrial effluent pollution.
Resuming at noon on Saturday, water supply is expected to be fully restored by 6am on Wednesday, Sept 9.
The restoration of water supply to over 1.2 million water account holders in 1,292 areas in the Klang Valley has since proceeded smoothly.
Source: New Straits Times https://bit.ly/35igvRv